NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck baseball team most likely wishes next season could start tomorrow.
After competing in 2013 with few seniors in the everyday lineup, the Greyhounds will return many sophomores and juniors in 2014 from this year’s team.
“I know we have a talented group,” Naugy head coach Tom Deller said. “I wish we could start next year right away.”
Naugy finished the season 9-13 overall after a 2-1 first-round state tournament loss at Ridgefield.
The ‘Hounds boasted two seniors who saw a lot of action this season, Scott Sill and Matt Bradley. Sill, an infielder-turned-outfielder, played every inning of every game.
“Scott played every game in left and he accepted it,” Deller said. “And we needed that.”
Sill gave the team a dependable outfielder and some clutch hits, including a game-winner at Seymour. Bradley was equally flexible for Naugy as a utility infielder who played 106 innings.
Other seniors on the team included Chris Sheedy, Travis Wyant and Dennis Murphy. This season gave a lot of younger players experience to bring into 2014.
On the mound, junior Ricky Plasky led the team with 58 innings pitched and went 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA. Plasky earned team MVP honors, in part for his steady play.
“From pitchers and catchers to the game in Ridgefield, he was the most consistent for us,” Deller said of Plasky.
Another junior, Adam Tavares, developed into a solid hitter for the Greyhounds. Tavares finished with a .292 batting average and led the team with 15 RBI.
“Adam really came on at the end of the year,” Deller said. “He has the best swing on the team.”
Kyle Plasky, a junior, formed one-half of a formidable double-play combination with sophomore shortstop Jason Bradley. Deller said the team turned six infield double plays this year.
John Dean, a junior, was a standout at catcher for Naugy with a .294 batting average and earned All-Copper Division honors.
Spencer Dreher and Josh Aviles, both sophomores, gained lots of playing time this season. Aviles played in every game, while Dreher appeared in 20 of 22. Dreher also started eight games on the hill, pitched 33 1/3 innings and earned two wins.
Deller also noted the importance of learning to play at the varsity level. The team lost six one-run games this year.
“I was a little disappointed we didn’t win more of those games,” Deller said. “I take responsibility for that because that’s my job to figure it out. Maybe we can do a few more things next year and turn it around.”
The team will also return Kevin Mariano, Evan Pelliccia and Kyle Pyshna, who each appeared in at least 10 games.
With plenty of seasoned players coming back, the future appears bright.
“We’re returning a lot of kids with a lot of experience,” Deller said. “That in and of itself is a positive.”