NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck softball team will be looking to reload this season after graduating four seniors from last year’s squad.
The list of now alumni includes starting pitcher Alexa Marucci, outfielder Carli Pellicia, infielder Lizzy Glick and outfielder Victoria Hendricks.
Despite the loss to graduation, the Greyhounds have a lot coming back, which could give them an inside track to postseason berths. It all starts with finding a replacement for Marucci, a multi-year starter.
“We are pitching three girls for the starting spot,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “We have been seeing some pretty good output so far. They are finding their spots and getting into a groove. It’s how they mesh with the defense and how we come together as a team as to how successful we will be.”
Leading the way will be a pair of captains, first baseman Sydney Cotto and shortstop Sarah Chandler. Senior outfielders Gretchen Hale and Amy Dietz along with pitcher Nina Kosciuszek give the ‘Hounds a solid nucleus of upperclassmen.
Naugatuck went 13-7 in last year’s regular season, five of those losses coming by just one run. The Greyhounds’ offense will need to pick up the pace and junior third baseman Gillian Fortier, a two-time all-state and all-NVL selection, will be the key.
Junior second baseman Erica Bohuski will round out the field with returning starters Cotto, Chandler and Fortier.
Kait Barry, Erika Andreoli and Kara Klimaszewski are set to be Naugy’s top outfielders.
But as is usually the case in softball, pitching will be the focus for the Greyhounds. Kosciuszek, Bohuski and Jenna Miller have all impressed Wesche with middle relief and starting pitching duties.
“Once we get some scrimmages in we will see who will keep these spots,” said Wesche, who had exhibitions with Lauralton Hall and Oxford set for this week. “The weather hasn’t been too supporting so we haven’t been able to get outside enough to see where we are at.”
Junior utility player Stefani Barry and sophomore catcher Shannon Searless will add a few more potent bats to the lineup. Juniors Cortney Els, Sandra Marques and Ashley Whitney team up with sophomores Lauren Burns, Alexia Davino, Zahria Dawkins and Sandra Dinis as options to provide bats and solid defense for the ‘Hounds.
Freshmen Jackie Aronin, Jessica Conover and Taya Diaz will also be battling for playing time and should help give the Greyhounds a solid bench.
Naugatuck is scheduled to get the season underway April 3 at Wolcott. The Greyhounds will conclude the first week of the season with their first two games at Breen Field, their new home while work begins on the athletic complex at the high school. Naugy will host Oxford on April 4 and Holy Cross on April 5.