NAUGATUCK – The Naugatuck Dogs wasted a strong team pitching effort by plating just one run in Tuesday night’s Stan Musial state-tournament-opening, 4-1 loss to the Danbury Outlaws at Rotary Field.
The Dogs, who qualified for the Connecticut Amateur Baseball Congress’s top tournament by finishing 12-9 during the Tri-State League regular season, received an excellent outing on the mound by draft pick Brody LaFontaine, who allowed four runs—one earned—on four hits and six walks while striking out seven in five and two-thirds innings of work.
The one blip on LaFontaine’s radar came in the sixth, when he walked a pair of batters with one out. A fly ball was then dropped in left field to load the bases before two more walks gave Danbury a 2-1 lead.
“Brody pitched a solid game for us,” Naugatuck manager Jay Harlaman said of his pitcher, who played the regular season for the Amenia Monarchs. “The fly ball in left was a killer for us. That ball should have been caught.”
Fellow draft pick Mike Valente of the Prospect Hearts relieved LaFontaine with two outs in the sixth and induced a ground ball to shortstop Macky Cianciolo, but the ball took a wicked hop over Cianciolo’s head to allow the Outlaws to score twice more.
“That bad hop to short really took the wind out of our sails,” Harlaman said.
The Dogs were unable to recover on offense as they went down in order in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal their first loss in the double-elimination tournament.
Naugatuck gained the early edge in the second inning. Bobby Augelli and Ricky Delarosa led off with singles to put men at first and third with no outs before Kyle Faucher beat out an infield single which scored Augelli.
But the Dogs couldn’t take further advantage of the situation, stranding both Delarosa and Faucher and settling with just one run.
Naugatuck also missed opportunities in the first inning, leaving a runner on third with two outs, and in the fifth, stranding men on first and second with one down.
“We really didn’t hit,” Harlaman said. “Their guy was throwing well. That’s been our nemesis all year, hitting the ball. It was a 1-0 game late and it seemed like it got away from us fast.”
The Dogs were set to regroup and play their second—and possibly last—game in the Musial tournament Wednesday night, after printing, at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. After state tournament play concludes, Naugatuck will compete in the Tri-State League playoffs, which are set to begin Aug. 7.