Hounds celebrate awards in off-week

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NAUGATUCK — Waiting a week to play a baseball game can feel like an eternity. Just ask the Naugy baseball team.

The Greyhounds had seven days to forget about their NVL tournament loss to Derby.  They had to wait one more day after their first-round state tournament game at Windsor was rained out Tuesday and was scheduled to be made up on Wednesday.

“That’s why it was important to make the NVL tournament,” head coach Tom Deller said. “Even though we lost, if we didn’t play in the tourney we would have been off for a week and a half.”

Naugatuck, which stands at 12-9 this season, hasn’t won a state tournament game since 2007.

Prior to the team’s scheduled state tournament game, it came together to celebrate its end-of-the season awards last Thursday.

Matt Zahornasky, the team’s top starting pitcher, earned first team all-NVL. Zahornasky has posted a 1.87 ERA in 52.1 innings, with 62 strikeouts.

“Every time Matt goes out on the mound, we have a chance to stay in the game,” Deller said. “For our league, he’s definitely one of the better pitchers.”

In addition, Zack Dreher and Adam Neveski won all-NVL honorable mention status.

Dreher led the team in hitting, while Neveski, a sophomore, has been a key pitcher through the season. Deller said Tuesday that Neveski will likely start the next game of the state tournament if the Greyhounds advance past Windsor.

Deller also handed out three awards based on statistics.

Dreher won the team batting title with a .377 average.

The production award, which goes to the player with the highest combined total of hits, runs and RBIs, was a tie. Both Dreher and Anthony McKernan each had a total of 50.

McKernan produces a distinct sound went the ball hits his bat, according to Deller.

“You can hear the ball off his bat,” Deller said. “When Anthony is on, he hits the ball hard.”

The “Nester” Award, which is a mathematical equation of runs plus stolen bases times on-base percentage, also went to Dreher.

“He just seems to get hits,” Deller said of Dreher.  “He doesn’t hit the ball the hardest, he doesn’t have the greatest swing, but he knows how to battle and how to concentrate at the plate.”