Greyhounds’ goals hinge on consistency

Naugatuck seniors, from left, Aryana Powell, Alma Bogo, Taylor Valentine, Briana Tavares and Julia Pelliccia will lead the Greyhounds on the softball field this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck softball team is looking to get back to the NVL tournament after missing the league tourney for the first time in quite a few years last season.

“Our goals this season is as always to qualify for the state and NVL tournaments,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “In order to do that we need to be more consistent at the plate and produce runs throughout the lineup.”

The Greyhounds, who finished 8-13 overall last season, started slow at 1-4 but rebounded to finish the regular season 7-8.

In order for the Greyhounds to reach the NVL tournament they will need to solve their divisional opponents — they went 2-6 in the division last season — and fill the shoes left by seven players that graduated.

“Our defensive lineup is young,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “We have many players playing positions they are unfamiliar with trying to fill the void of losing seven players from last year.”

Naugy will be led by seniors Julia Pelliccia, Aryana Powell, Briana Tavares, Taylor Valentine and Alma Bogo.

Wesche has been encouraged by the early results of scrimmages.

“We lost some power at the plate from last year,” Wesche said. “The gap is starting to fill in from what I’ve seen in scrimmages. Juniors Hailey Deitelbaum, Megan Schofield and senior Julia Pelliccia along with freshman Alyssa Roberts all have yard power and can challenge most fences in the NVL.”

Consistency on defensive will begin with success in the pitcher’s circle where Pelliccia, Schofield and Roberts have all worked innings during scrimmages. Junior Shannon Burns and Powell will see duty behind the plate and at first base.

The infield has multiple changing parts with a focus on putting the best hitting lineup in place to generate runs on a consistent basis.

Deitelbaum and Roberts can play both corners at first and third. Junior Alyssa Ulrich and freshman Alyssa Hovey will see time at second base with Pelliccia and Powell filling in the hole at shortstop. Hovey and Schofield can also play in the outfield.

Besides the multiple infield-outfield positions, the Greyhounds will rely on Valentine and Tavares to lead the way in the outfield along with sophomore Jordyn Hunt and freshmen Samantha Valentine and Sara Mancuso.

“Hailey is a leader by example, always doing what is expected and more for the success of the team,” Wesche said. “Julia will get things going from the leadoff spot and Megan has improved her bat. Alyssa is only a freshman but she is hitting and playing like a veteran.”

Naugatuck is scheduled to open the season Tuesday at home against Kennedy after Monday’s game versus Pomperaug was postponed to Thursday due to a snowstorm. The Greyhounds will conclude the first week Friday at St. Paul.

“We expect to be competitive everyday regardless of who our opponent is,” Wesche said. “We did lose seven players from last year but that has created openings and opportunities at many positions.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a scheduling change due to inclement weather on April 2.