NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of Wilby last Thursday at Breen Field to improve to 6-1 on the season. The next day the Greyhounds were off to the airport for their bi-annual trip to Florida during the school break for games against teams across the country.
“This is our third trip down to Florida,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “We plan the trip every other year and it really is a good bonding process. When we get back you can definitely notice how the team has come together and it certainly brings the camaraderie up a notch.”
Naugatuck made quick work of the Wildcats in the first game Thursday, winning by an 18-0 margin. Nina Kosciuszek spun a five-inning no-hitter while Sarah Chandler and Kara Klimaszewski led the offense with three hits and three runs each.
In game two Jessica Conover fired a one-hitter in a five-inning, 15-0 win. Gillian Fortier belted a grand slam and Shannon Searles also slammed a home run to lead the offense.
The Greyhounds’ new pitching staff has been a solid part of their winning ways with Kosciuszek sporting a 3-1 record and a 1.12 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. Jenna Miller has also found success in the circle, earning a 2-0 record with a 2.59 ERA in three games.
The middle of Naugatuck’s batting order is coming up with timely hits as the ‘Hounds have pounded out 78 hits and crossed the dish 60 times in seven games. Averaging 11 hits and 8.5 runs a game is certainly a big relief to the pitching corps.
Chandler has hit in every game and leads the team in hits (13) to go along with nine runs, six RBI, three doubles and a triple.
Klimaszewski leads the team in runs (10) on 11 hits with seven RBI. Fortier is a very dangerous cleanup hitter as the two-time all-state pick has 10 hits, seven runs, eight RBI and two home runs. The junior third baseman hit eight home runs as a freshman and seven as a sophomore, bringing her career total to 17.
That’s a whole lot of production but it’s just the beginning. Naugatuck also boasts catcher Shannon Searles, who leads the team with 10 RBI on eight hits, including a homer. Miller has also has a long ball during one of her pitching appearances.
Gretchen Hale (five runs), Kait Barry (four runs, three RBI) and Kosciuszek have all connected for six hits each. Sydney Cotto and Erika Andreoli have contributed to the run and RBI totals, each collecting three hits.
Naugatuck has shown a lot of depth with production from Sandra Dinis (four hits, four runs), Stefani Barry (two runs, two RBI) and Amy Dietz (two runs). Lauren Burns, Jackie Aronin and Ashley Whitney have also scored runs for the Greyhounds.
Naugy has close wins over Holy Cross (7-5) and Kennedy (4-3). The Greyhounds’ only loss was a 3-0 nonconference defeat against Oxford, and more tough games are on the way.
“Kennedy is a very good team and has brought a lot of parity to the league this year,” Wesche said. “But the key to our success is we have capitalized when we had the opportunity. Our focus has been producing with runners on base — moving the runners along and putting the ball in play to make something happen. This trip will have us coming back focused because we have three strong teams to face in Torrington, Seymour and Woodland.”
Naugatuck returned from Florida to a doubleheader Thursday with an 11 a.m. game at Crosby and a 4 p.m. game at Breen Field against Torrington, the Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division favorite. The ‘Hounds will host Seymour on Friday before visiting Woodland on Monday.