By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — After a slow start to the season, the Greyhounds ripped off nine straight wins and served notice that they will be one of the teams to be reckoned with in the NVL tournament.
“Our team has grown in confidence,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “We have been able to put our bats on the ball creating pressure on our opponents. The defense is eliminating some of the mistakes we made earlier in the season, and the battery of (pitcher Alyssa) Roberts and (catcher Kendall) Allen communicates well, and that has helped the confidence of the team as a whole.”
The Greyhounds are 11-3 with three games to play. Naugy’s three losses came against the teams ahead of them in the league standings: Seymour, Wolcott and Woodland. Along with Oxford, the five teams are only separated by a few games atop the standings.
Naugy took a major step forward on May 7 when Roberts threw a four-hit shutout, striking out seven, in a 2-0 win over Oxford. Nadia Cestari had two hits and drove in both runs, with Samantha Mullin scoring both of the runs for the Greyhounds.
Roberts extended her dominance in the pitcher’s circle at Holy Cross on May 8. The senior allowed two hits and struck out seven in a 9-0 win.
Allen and Mullin had two hits and drove in a run each to pace the offense. Aryn Bombery added two hits and Cestari belted a two-run double.
Watertown pushed the Greyhounds to extra innings on May 11. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the 10th, Felicia Salvati delivered the eventual game-winning hit to score Allen in a 3-2 win for Naugy. Roberts went the distance, striking out 12.
Naugy shutdown Derby, 15-0, on May 12. Roberts pitched three innings and Kayshla Diaz completing the one-hitter with two innings of hitless relief. Cestari led the attack with four hits and four runs scored.
Samantha Valentine, Sophia Onofrio and Lauryn Ramalho drove in two runs each. Mullin had three hits and scored two runs. Sara Mancuso scored twice, and Alyssa Hovey had an RBI and a run scored.
The Greyhounds made it nine straight wins with a 17-2 victory over St. Paul on May 14.
Mullin had four hits, drove in two runs and scored twice. Valentine had four hits, an RBI and a run scored. Ramalho had three hits, an RBI and three runs scored.
Roberts struck out 13 for Naugy.
Roberts and the Greyhound defense have been impressive, shutting out four opponents over the nine-game winning streak. Wesche also likes what he’s seeing at the plate.
“Our batting order has been pretty consistent one through six,” Wesche said. “Mullin is at .490 as our leadoff and if the defense makes a mistake she will make you pay for it. Cestari is batting .526 with 16 RBI, followed by Roberts with 16 RBI.”
“It doesn’t stop there with Salvato hitting .612 and Bombery has shown some power, adding 15 RBI,” he continued.
Naugy is set to play Torrington on May 17, Wolcott on May 18 and Ansonia on May 20 to end the regular season. The NVL tournament is set to start May 22.