By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck put it all on the line in the final week the Connecticut Elite Baseball Association’s regular season, but fell short of the postseason in spite of a valiant effort.
Naugatuck won four of its last five games to finish the season 10-6 and in second place in Division 5 behind Winsted.
The Connecticut Elite Baseball Association, which was formed this year as a one-year replacement for American Legion baseball, will host a single-elimination tournament beginning Friday with two teams from divisions 1, 2 and 3, but only the top teams from divisions 5 and 6.
“I think we did really good to finish as strong as we did. Winsted got the tie-breaker beating us two out of three, but it was a success just getting the kids back out on the field this summer,” Naugatuck head coach Mark Nofri said.
A three-game skid the week of July 19 dropped Naugatuck out of first place in the division, but Naugy responded by ripping off four wins in a row.
“We had a couple of our guys get really hot,” Nofri said. “Nick Bruno and especially Jon Chatfield really got the offense going. We got our catcher back, Zach Royka, after he was out for two weeks.”
Naugatuck vaulted back into the win column with a hard-fought 6-4 win over Bethel July 26. Trailing 3-0, Naugy scored four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to cap off the comeback.
Jon Chatfield, who had two hits and scored two runs, pitched the final two innings. He allowed two hits and a run and struck out three to pick up the win. Derrick Jagello stole two bases and scored a run to help spark the offense.
Naugy survived a Danbury rally July 28 to pull out an 8-7 victory. Danbury put up four runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to close the gap. Chatfield again came on to pitch and earned the save, shutting out Danbury over the final 1 1/3 innings.
Zach Royka and Jagello contributed RBI doubles. Austin Verab belted a home run, and Nick Bruno went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Chatfield drove in three runs and scored a run.
Naugy swept a double-header against Bethel July 29.
Jagello pitched a complete game, scattering four hits and striking out 11, as Naugy won the first game, 3-1. Bruno and Chatfield ignited the offense with home runs.
In the night cap, Ryan McCarthy allowed five hits and run and struck out five in a 2-1 win. The game was called after six innings when a bank of lights went out.
McCarthy got all the run support he needed when Chatfield hit a two-run home run in the third.
Naugatuck ended the season with a 4-1 loss to Danbury July 30. Chatfield singled and scored in the first inning on a double by Jagello.