NAUGATUCK — When the bats are alive, a team has a good chance to win. When the pitching is nearly flawless, it also puts a team in line for a victory. When everything’s clicking on both sides, it’s about as perfect as a coach could ask for.
That’s how it went Monday night for Naugatuck as Alexa Marucci tossed a complete game two-hitter and the Greyhounds pounded out eight runs on 12 hits in an 8-1 win over Sacred Heart under the lights at Naugatuck High.
“I think I was hitting my spots really well,” Marucci said. “My changeup was working good, and my fastball.”
After stranding runners at second and third in the first inning, the ‘Hounds (8-5) struck for a pair of runs in the second, third and fourth innings.
After drawing a leadoff walk in the second, Vicki Louth was sacrificed to second and came around to score the game’s first run when Molly Fallon dropped a double just inside the left-field line. Kait Barry pinch ran for Fallon and scored in the next at-bat, motoring home from second on a dropped fly ball by Sacred Heart (2-12) left fielder Tiff Ciavarella.
Naugatuck doubled its lead in the third inning when Joelle Louth laced a two-run double up the middle, scoring Erica Bohuski and Vicki Louth to make it a 4-0 Greyhounds lead.
In the next inning, the Greyhounds pulled away. Melissa LaBonte reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on an errant throw back to the infield. Two batters later, Melissa Kirschbaum hit a ground ball down the first-base line to bring home LaBonte. Kirschbaum then scored on a Carli Pelliccia double to the right-center field gap.
After being held hitless and stranding a runner in the fifth, Naugatuck scored another two runs in the sixth inning. Sarah Chandler led off the frame with a single to right and subsequently stole second. She advanced on a groundout by pinch hitter Lianne Wallace and scored on Bohuski’s second single of the game. Bohuski made it 8-0 Greyhounds when she scored on an error by Sacred Heart catcher Mandy McKay.
On the other side, Marucci was dominant. The junior right-hander gave up one unearned on two hits, going the distance. Marucci threw 72 pitches, 56 of them for strikes, striking out nine and walking none.
“Alexa Marucci hit all her spots that we asked of her, and she was on top of all her pitches,” Naugatuck Coach Kevin Wesche said. “She’s in command of the circle right now.”
For a Naugatuck team bitten by the injury bug, defensive shuffling has been necessary. With new players in new positions, it’s been a test for the Greyhounds, but one the team passed on Monday.
“I think the defense did a great job of backing up the pitcher,” Wesche said. “With the injuries we’ve had, everybody’s stepped up. Many kids are in different positions, and I think they’ve done a great job of filling in.”
The ‘Hounds followed up with a 14-6 win over St. Paul on Tuesday. Naugy jumped out to a 7-0 lead after four before the Falcons cut it to an 8-6 game headed to the seventh. The Greyhounds put up a six-run final frame to come away with the win.
Wallace led Naugatuck (9-5) in Bristol with two hits, three runs, and four RBI while Kirschbaum also scored three times and drove in four runs.
Naugy has a dash to the finish with six home games in nine days. The ‘Hounds were set to host Ansonia and Seymour this week before a doubleheader against Wilby on Monday and games against Holy Cross and Kennedy on Tuesday and Thursday.