BEACON FALLS — The Naugatuck American Legion Post 17 senior baseball team struggled offensively in a three-game losing streak to start the season. It may have corrected that problem this past weekend.
Post 17 exploded for 21 hits in a 25-3, six-inning victory over Prospect-Beacon Falls Posts 194-25 on Sunday at Woodland.
After PBF took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first — the team’s first runs of the season — Naugatuck responded by scoring in each of its last five turns at the plate.
In the third, Post 17 scored six runs to take an 8-3 lead. The big blow of the inning came on a bases-loaded, two-run double by Ryan White to make it a 4-3 game.
Naugy added two more in the fourth on a two-run single by Mike Burns, giving the team a 10-3 advantage.
Four more runs came across in the fifth thanks to a pair of RBI singles by Kyle Lopes and Nolan Kinne as well as a two-run triple by Zac Mercer.
Naugatuck further blew open the game in the sixth by scoring 11 runs to account for the final margin. Post 17 sent 16 batters to the plate in the inning to take a 25-3 lead.
Even though Naugy had no shortage of offense Sunday, assistant coach Tom Burns certainly isn’t expecting that sort of run total again this season.
“We just are going to have some trouble scoring runs this year,” Burns said. “We’re going to have to bunt and run and pitch well. It’s a long season and hopefully we’re going to be able to improve.”
Burns said he’s seen strength in the team up the middle with center fielder Nolan Kinne, shortstop Kyle Lopes, second baseman Jonathan Bisson, catcher Zac Mercer, and a rotating pitching staff.
“Nolan Kinne is an all-state player,” Burns said. “We’ve been pretty solid up the middle so far. Zac Mercer has done a steady job behind the plate. Sometimes we have to mix and match when we have to use a different arm. But these guys have played together for a long time.”
On Sunday, Mike Burns did the job on the mound. He started and settled down after allowing three runs in the first. Burns only allowed two hits the rest of the way before being relieved later in the game.
“We play a lot of games in a short time,” Tom Burns said. “We have to use every arm we have. We have Matt Zahornasky, who’s playing Tri-State now but when he can, he’s going to help us out.”
Naugy’s pitching — and bats — have to compete with strong staffs around Zone 5
“Pitching is a lot better in Legion than in high school,” Burns said. “You see more curveballs and faster pitching. We just have to mature offensively.”
Prospect-Beacon Falls managed its first runs of the season in the first inning Sunday. After Matt Wysocki lead off by being hit with a pitch, he came around to score on an RBI single by Kyle Soisson. Soisson eventually scored on an error, while Ryan Flanagan scored the third run on a bases-loaded walk by Nathan Clarke.
Connor Chura, Dylan Cummings, and Eric Beutel split time on the mound for Prospect-Beacon Falls, which is still searching for its first victory.
The blowout loss interrupted a string of competitive losses for PBF. Posts 194-25 suffered a 5-0 loss to Ansonia last Saturday and a 7-1 defeat to Monroe on Monday. Wysocki and Clarke pitched well in the losses, according to PBF assistant coach Jeff Clarke.
“We played our best game of the season against Monroe,” Clarke said. “Our bats started to warm up. The effort was there and it showed. The kids had a chance to enjoy the game.”