NAUGATUCK — The Naugy Dogs enter this week atop the Tri-State League standings.
The adult baseball team, armed with multiple players who have been with the squad for 10 years, stood at 8-1 start through June 29. The Dogs are doing it with a mix of hitting, defense and pitching.
“Guys pick each other up, people step up,” Dogs manager Jay Harlamon said. “We defend real well, we make plays and our pitching is solid.”
In a 2-0 win over Terryville June 25, the Dogs showed why they lead the standings at the regular season mid-way point.
Their pitching has been near dominant and has only allowed 11 runs in nine games.
Jeff Sturm tossed a complete-game shutout, scattered four hits and struck out six. They also got timely hitting. With two outs in the fourth, Kyle Murphy singled and scored on a double by Jeff Rustico. Macky Cianciolo followed with a double to score Rustico.
The victory over Terryville proved to be a bounce-back win. Naugy’s only loss of the season came the previous game against Watertown in an extra-inning contest.
Brian Wyrebek took a no-hitter through seven innings in another stellar outing for the Dogs, who couldn’t break through against Watertown’s Charlie Benson. In the top of the ninth, Cianciolo doubled with two outs, but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning on a single from Murphy.
Sturm extended the Dogs’ season-opening win streak to seven with a two-hitter and 11 strikeouts in a 4-2 win over Bethlehem. Lance Stephens and Adam Neveski have also won games on the mound for the Dogs.
The solid start can also be attributed to the depth of their lineup.
Hitters such as George Harlamon (two-run single in win over Tribury), Ryan Russell, Terrance Noss, Trent Levi, Devin Murphy and Christian Cuevas and Sean Miller-Jones have all contributed to the offense.
“The bottom of the lineup has been picking up the top,” Jay Harlamon said.
The Dogs have a tradition of winning, and this year appears to be another possible run at a state title. Naugy won titles in 2011, 2012 and lost in the finals in 2013.
“Our goal is to make the state tournament and win it,” Jay Harlamon said. “I like our chances.”