NAUGATUCK — Eight years have past since Naugatuck Post 17 left a lasting impression on American Legion baseball and won the Zone 5 title. Naugy returns a veteran squad this season that is looking to leave its mark.
“We have a very good shot at the Zone,” Naugatuck head coach Rob Dibble said. “It all comes down to who shows up. We have a lot of veteran depth with four-year guys but if we can’t put the best team out there it won’t be easy.”
The boys of summer are back along with a veteran coaching staff of Paul D’Agnone, general manager, and assistant coaches Greg Dean and Bob Swierbitowicz. Post 17 finished last year 15-12, the team’s first winning season since Naugatuck was Zone 5 champs.
Naugatuck has charged out of the gate this season to a 4-1 record and sits tied for first place in Zone 5. The hot play for Post 17 starts on the mound.
Spencer Dreher pitched Naugy to a 7-3 win over New Milford in the season-opener. Kyle Plasky threw a four-hitter in a complete game, 6-2 win over Monroe. Jason Bradley fired a two-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Monroe, and Ricky Plasky unleashed a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Oxford.
Naugatuck has shown a penchant for the big-inning, scoring all seven runs against New Milford in the fourth inning. Against Monroe, Post 17 hung four runs on the board in its first at bat during the first game of last Friday’s double-header. In the nightcap, Naugy scored all the runs they needed with an eight-run outburst in the second inning.
Joshua Aviles, Chris Anderson and Kevin Mariano have swung big bats in the lineup, along with Matt Whitney, Brendan Caldwell, Ethen Mester, Patrick Hughes and Andrew Minchella.
Post 17 suffered its first loss of the season in a 5-0 setback to Bethel on Sunday. Corey Plasky pitched four innings on the hill and John Dean went the final three innings.
“We have the pitching to compete in the Zone. But we will have our work cut out for us this week facing Waterbury (3-1) and Oakville (4-1) winners of six of the last seven Zone titles,” Dibble said.
Naugatuck will find out this week how far they have come and how far they need to go in order to win its first Zone title in eight years. Post 17 will take on Waterbury on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium and then Oakville Thursday at home for a 5:45 p.m. game. Naugy will finish up the week on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hotchkiss Field in Prospect to take on Posts 194/25.