BY MARK JAFFEE
Faced with a deficit late in a game on May 10, the Naugatuck High baseball team needed a spark and got it.
Down 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning to Holy Cross, the Greyhounds scored eight runs and held on for an 8-3 win.
“It was contagious,” said Naugatuck coach Joe Iannotti of the rally. “We had a few hits, a few bunts and were stealing bases. It was one after another. Everyone contributed. It was big boost, especially against a great team like Holy Cross.”
The Greyhounds (13-4 overall, 12-3 NVL) also got a huge effort from junior pitcher Andrew Tyszka, who scattered seven hits and three runs while striking out six over six innings with Blake Stone closing out the game.
“Andrew threw really well, mixed up his pitches well and got outs in a couple of big spots,” said Iannotti.
The Greyhounds have won seven of their last eight games, the lone loss a 3-2 decision to Pomperaug on May 6.
“Pomperaug did a good job,” said Iannotti. “You have to give credit to their pitcher (Andrew Lang, who tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts). He shut us down. But I was happy with the way we responded against Derby (19-5) and Holy Cross.”
Iannotti said his team is getting a real boost from third-year starting catcher Michael Deitelbaum.
“Michael calls a great a game and is hitting well, and his leadership, on and off the field, is huge for us,” said Iannotti, who also praised senior Jacob Guggino, junior Dylan Sepulveda, junior Alex Teixeira and sophomore Kevin Cestari with making a big impact.
“We are definitely gaining confidence as the season goes on, which is what you want,” said Iannotti. “We are peaking at the right time. We are playing ou best ball.”
The quarterfinals of the eight-team Naugatuck Valley League tournament began on May 22.
“All eight teams will have a legitimate shot to win it all,” said Iannotti.
Softball’s super sophomore
Naugatuck sophomore pitcher Leah Chatfield had a dominating week against three good teams.
On May 8, she tossed a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and had a walk-off double in a 4-3 win over Nonnewaug. Then Chatfield tossed a five-hitter with 13 strkeouts in a 7-2 win over Holy Cross on May 10. To finish off the week, Chatfield tossed a five-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 decision over Pomperaug on May 12. Chatfield also produced at the plate with two hits and three RBIs.
“It felt really good beating three very good teams,” said Chatfield. “Going into the games was nerve-wracking, but then once they started it felt like another game to push through. Remembering the mechanics and that there’s people behind me is what helped me through each game. And the meaning of each game also helped. On our “Strike Out Cancer” game against Nonnewaug, the game felt more personal from having a relative who has had breast cancer. Not only was our game against Holy Cross our Senior Night, but the rivalry definitely was a big push to have that feeling of doing even better. After winning both of those games, I went into Pomperaug very confident that our team would produce very well!”
Naugatuck finished the regular season with a 14-6 record and was scheduled to begin play in the eight-team NVL tournament on May 22.