Naugatuck shut out by New Milford

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck American Legion Post 17 team’s hitting woes continued as it failed to get a run across in a 5-0 loss to New Milford American Legion.

Naugatuck batters were stifled Thursday by New Milford right-hander Andrew Millard, who threw a complete game gem.

Naugatuck pitcher Joe Iannotti, right, prevents a run from scoring; overall, Post 17 allowed five runs in a shutout loss.

“Andrew threw a great game. He did exactly what we ask our pitchers to do: pound the strike zone and let our fielders make plays behind you,” said New Milford Head Coach Paul Iverson.

Millard retired the side on three separate occasions, and finished the outing with a pitch count under 90.

“I was impressed with how efficient Andrew was all night, efficient and effective, that’s what happens when you throw the ball for strikes,” Iverson said.

When Naugatuck did manage to get runners on, they failed to advance them and left them stranded on the base paths. Naugatuck got a leadoff double, one of their only extra-bases hits on the night, to start the bottom half of the second, but then failed at a sacrifice bunt attempt and recorded two quick outs.

“It’s just the story of the season. We’re not hitting,” Coach Ron Swierbitowicz said. “We’ve been getting guys on; we just can’t get them across.”

Naugatuck pitcher Joseph Iannotti kept his team in range early, giving up two unearned runs in the first but settling in and limiting New Milford baserunners in the next three innings.

“Joe pitched well in a spot start,” Swierbitowicz said. “We’re getting good pitching, were just not helping our pitchers out and scoring runs.”

The wheels fell off for Iannotti late, though, as New Milford tacked on two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth to bring the score to 5-0.

“We got timely hitting, we hit a lot of balls hard and unfortunately we found some holes,” Iverson said. “We’ve been hitting balls at people lately but today they found some holes

The loss drops Naugatuck to 1-10 on the season, a record that may not reflect the competitiveness of the group. The team has had some great performances and has lost seven games by only one run.

A showing that exemplifies the Naugatuck season thus far was Matt Zahornasky’s pitching performance during his last outing against Bethel on Sunday. Zahornasky took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, only to see an error plate a run in the last frame and receive the loss in extra innings.

“We’re not making any breaks for ourselves, and we’re not catching any either,” Swierbitowicz said.

The two teams tried to get in a second game, but Mother Nature only allowed only two innings as heavy rain turned the infield clay into mud and forced the umpires to call the game and postpone it to a later date.

Post 17 will return to action when it traves to Monroe for a double-header beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.