NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck softball team won its fifth game in a row in pounding fashion—beating Crosby 13-1 on Monday.
Gillian Fortier lead the offensive onslaught for the Greyhounds belting two doubles, two home runs and driving in seven runs.
The game was knotted at 1-1 early on as Crosby (4-2) proved they are not the same Bulldogs of old that would get mercy ruled in five innings.
Naugatuck broke the deadlock in the fourth.
Carli Pelliccia (three hits, two runs) dumped a single into right field to lead things off. Sydney Cotto (three hits, two runs, two RBI) slammed a single into the left field corner and Kara Klimaszewski drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Sarah Chandler put a drive to the fence in left for what looked like a sacrifice fly to put Naugatuck ahead. Crosby head coach Dave Sylvester instructed the catcher to throw to third on the appeal. The umpire drew up his hand for the out sign signifying that Pelliccia had left the base early and the double play pulled the plug on the rally — almost.
Then Fortier stepped to the plate.
Fortier got the leagues attention last year as a freshman earning All-NVL and All-State honors belting 10 home runs. Sylvester wanted no part of Fortier and called for an intentional walk of the Naugatuck slugger.
Two pitches later Fortier stepped into one and drove it well over the fence in left centerfield for a three-run home run that changed the complexion of the game.
“I have always been taught in Little League and right through to travel ball, if its close go for it,” Fortier said.
Fortier busted the game open with a grand slam the next inning as the ‘Hounds scored seven more times to complete the 13-1 win.
Crosby got on the board in the second inning when Katie Rocco scored after Brittany Balek connected on a double. Naugatuck’s Alexa Marucci, who threw a perfect game in her previous start against Wilby, regained her composure retiring 15 of the next 16 batters to complete the three hitter.
Naugatuck tied in the game in the bottom of the second after Nina Kosciuszek drew a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Erica Bohuski. Pelliccia drove Kosciuszek home with a two-out, run-scoring single to tie the game.
After tying the game, Naugatuck squandered a golden opportunity in the third. Fortier led off with a double to the base of the fence in center. Shannon Searles reached on an infield hit and pinch runner Amy Dietz pulled into second base on the throw to third.
Crosby escaped the jam but couldn’t escape the bat of Fortier. Naugatuck put the game in their back pocket plating seven runs in the fifth. Cotto ripped a two run single to left scoring Bohuski and Gretchen Hale.
If Crosby had any notions of staying in this game it was quickly erased when Fortier stepped in with the bases loaded and belted a no-doubt-about-that-one blast over the centerfield fence.
“Gillian is an awesome hitter,” Cotto said. “But teams would be making a mistake if they think that’s all Naugatuck has. We have a lot of good hitters on this team. We play good defense and we have a solid pitcher.”
“We have a good mix of younger players and veterans,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche added. “We give the girls an opportunity to play based on who works the hardest in practice.”
The win gave the Greyhounds their fifth in a row after falling to Wolcott to open the season.
“Wolcott is a very good team and we just made one more error than they did. I think that loss has been on the teams mind and maybe even pushed them to step it up,” Wesche said.
Pelliccia said the team has been more alert since the opening loss.
“We just seem to be a little more focused after losing the first game of the season to Wolcott,” Pelliccia said.
Naugatuck will play at Torrington on Wednesday and at Seymour on Friday before hosting Woodland on Monday.
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