NAUGATUCK — Redemption in baseball often comes with just one swing of the bat. Post 17 starting pitcher Spencer Dreher got his shot with one out in the bottom of the seventh and Naugatuck trailing by two runs to Prospect-Beacon Falls Tuesday in American Legion Zone 5 action.
Dreher sent a Matt Spoffard fastball over the right centerfield fence for a walk-off, three-run homer to drive in Jason Bradley and Chris Anderson for the come-from-behind 6-5 win in the first game of a doubleheader.
“Jason told me before my last at bat to bend me knees more,” Dreher said. “I was standing up too straight in the batter’s box. I made the adjustment and it allowed me to extend my bat through the zone.
“It was a great feeling to see that ball clear the fence,” he continued. “They were after me all game long managing to get on base, so it was nice to get a little redemption in that last at bat.”
Posts 194/25 did most of its damage erupting for three runs in the first inning against Dreher. Matt Whitney, Kyle Plasky and Bradley opened the bottom of the third with consecutive singles for Post 17. Anderson and Dreher hit sacrifice flies to chase home runs as Post 17 cut the deficit at 4-3.
PBF added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-3 lead. The damage could have been worse if not for the inning-ending double play pulled off by second baseman Kyle Plasky with the bases loaded.
Bradley and Anderson drew one-out walks in the bottom of the seventh and PBF brought in Matt Spoffard to relive Matt Wysocki. A double steal put both runners in scoring position before Dreher sent a long fly to right centerfield that cleared the fence. His teammates emptied the dugout to greet the hero at home plate.
“Prospect always plays us tough,” Post 17 coach Rob Dibble said. “Spencer had a tough first inning, but gutted it out and kept us within striking distance. The guys are starting to get hot and getting some timely hits.”
Naugatuck took that momentum into the second game of the doubleheader. Post 17 didn’t need any late-inning heroics as Naugatuck rolled to an 11-4 win in the nightcap. The win gave Post 17 (10-4) its fourth in row and six wins in seven games to get back in the hunt in Zone 5.
Dreher went 3-for-3 in the nightcap with four RBI. Jason Bradley had two hits and three RBI. Kyle Plasky had two hits and two RBI and Rick Plasky adding two hits and one RBI to pace the offense. Kyle Plasky and Bradley went three innings each on the mound with Rick Plasky closing it out in the seventh inning.
Naugatuck holds its own destiny in Zone 5. Post 17 is set to take on second place Oakville (11-3) on Wednesday at Pomperaug High School in Southbury and first place Waterbury (11-2) on Thursday at Municipal Stadium.
“We have our own destiny in our hands with Oakville and Waterbury coming up,” Dibble said Tuesday night. “It won’t be an easy stretch as we have double headers following on Saturday and Sunday. We are going to need all hands on deck to come out of this on the positive end of things.”
Post 17 will hit the road for double headers Saturday versus Easton and Sunday versus New Milford. Naugatuck will stay on the road to face Bethel on Tuesday.