NAUGATUCK — All season long, Naugatuck baseball coach Tom Deller has talked to his team about playing a meaningful game. That game has arrived.
On Thursday, the Greyhounds are set to travel to Torrington to take on the Red Raiders with the Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division title on the line. That game is only the first step on the road to glory as Naugatuck looks to regain a little prominence to which this storied program is accustomed.
“The Torrington game is one of those big games that I’ve been talking about,” Naugatuck coach Tom Deller said. “Hopefully it will be the first of many meaningful games that we still have left to play this season.”
The Greyhounds are riding a four-game winning streak, improving on an 11-7 record that has marked this up-and-down season. There have been three losses booted away by just one run and there have been three other games in which the ‘Hounds were simply outplayed.
Last Friday, Adam Neveski picked up the win and Ryan White secured the save as Naugatuck got past Kennedy, 5-2.
The Greyhounds found enough offense in their bats, led by Seth Mulhall’s two hits. Kyle Lopes added a run-scoring hit and Nolan Kinne doubled and scored two runs to pace the attack.
Following the game Naugatuck found out that Neveski could be lost for the season after being diagnosed with an illness (mononucleosis) that could end his high school career.
“That was a huge loss for our team,” Deller said. “He could be out for quite a while. The guys need to step up and get ready to play some meaning full baseball. They don’t get too rattled, not as much as I do.”
If Naugatuck needed someone to step up after losing Neveski, it came in the form of Rich Pimental, who threw a six-hit shutout in a complete-game effort over Wilby on Monday.
“Rich really stepped up with a huge game for us against Wilby,” Deller said. “He also leads the team with 25 RBI and is hitting over .400.”
Adam Tavares knocked in the eventual game-winning run with a single to score Zac Mercer. Kinne collected three hits to pace the Greyhounds at the plate.
“We have been playing solid defense and Ryan White has really come on to keep us in games,” Deller said.
Mike Burns and Jon Bisson have been getting it done defensively in the infield. Karl Johansen and Charles Healy have provided some senior leadership and solid bats in the lineup.
“Nolan is batting .534 to lead the team and recently Karl is hitting over .400 in the last four or five games,” Deller said. “We are scoring runs but we need to be a little more consistent with runners in scoring position. We can’t afford to lose out on our opportunities.”
The Greyhounds will finish out the regular season this week as they were set to host Crosby on Wednesday before traveling to Torrington to help decide the Copper champion. The NVL baseball tournament is scheduled begin this weekend at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.