BY KEN MORSE
Sometimes the biggest lessons are learned through the hardest mistakes. It culminated when an infield pop up fell between three fielders and the Naugatuck softball team didn’t begin the season the way it had planned.
In fact, it unraveled very quickly when three errors opened the door to a seven-run third inning and the Greyhounds couldn’t recover. The 10-3 loss to Wolcott on April 2 was a far cry from the expectations they had during preseason workouts.
Naugy was looking to be a contender for an NVL title and those hopes are still alive as they quickly turned the page from the Wolcott loss.
“We are still a little young in spots and once we get everyone back we will be ok. We are missing our starting centerfielder Lauryn Ramalho and once she is back I think we will light a fire,” said Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche. “We need better communication out there. Hats off to Wolcott. They hit the ball really well and they found all the gaps, but you can’t give a team six outs in an inning.”
The Greyhounds did manage nine hits with Kendall Allen (3 hits), Nadai Cestari, and Felicia Salvati all coming through with run-scoring hits in the last inning. Samantha Mullin (2 hits), Cestari and Phoebe Jagello scored the three runs.
“We need to come right out of the gate and do that with our offense,” said Wesche. “We can’t wait till the last inning.”
It was that momentum from the end of the Wolcott game that carried Naugy to victory over the next two contests.
On April 4, Naugy held off a serious charge by St. Paul as the Falcons plated three runs in the top of the seventh inning. The Greyhounds had enough offensive presence to come away with an 8-5 win.
Sophia Audi got the win in the pitchers’ circle, going the distance and striking out nine. Audi collected two hits at the plate. Mullin and Salvati also had two hits each to pace the offense. Laniah Diaz and Cestari had hits and two RBI each, Stephanie Sutherland scored two runs with Sophia Onofrio and Cadence Hofmann collecting hits.
After making six errors in the field during the season opener the Naugy defense was on their game against St. Paul, committing just one miscue.
Naugy had that same kind of defensive determination in the next game against Derby in a 20-0 (five-inning) victory on April 5. Audi went four innings and surrendered just two hits to go along with six strikeouts. Leah Chatfield closed it out with one inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
Salvati led the team with four hits and three runs scored. Aryn Bombery was making solid contact with three hits, including a double, a home run, two runs scored and five runs driven in.
Allen collected three hits with three runs and five RBI. Cestari had three hits, three RBI and four runs scored. Mullin scored four runs and had two hits. Chatfield added two hits and two RBI and Jagello had a hit and scored three runs.
“We have a trip planned to Florida and that usually begins a bonding process,” said Wesche. “We just need to keep focused, play as a team and continue to get better.”
Naugatuck is scheduled to finish out the week at Torrington on Friday and then head to Florida with games scheduled against Berlin on Sunday and against Maloney on April 13. The team is slated to return home on April 14 with a game the following day at home against WCA at 1 p.m.
BY KEN MORSE