NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck American Legion Post 17 baseball team isn’t as much struggling on the field as it is simply getting players on the diamond.
A number of players on vacation during their first week off from school, as well as other player absences, resulted in a string of losses, including one forfeit to Waterbury. The loss to Waterbury on Tuesday dropped Post 17 to 1-7 on the season.
In the forfeit, Naugatuck had eight players show up to the field.
“It’s just by the skin of our teeth,” Naugatuck head coach Bob Dibble said. “Those kids come back on Friday. I don’t know the consequences of these forfeits, but I can’t imagine the Zone [5 directors] will be too happy.”
Even without the vacationing and otherwise absent players, Naugatuck has struggled with pitching depth in the sprint-like Legion season. Matt Zahornasky and Rich Pimental, who the coaching staff hoped would be at the top of the rotation, have yet to appear for Post 17.
Starting Wednesday, Naugatuck had seven games scheduled over a five-day period.
“We don’t have the arms,” Dibble said. “With the kids not being able to come, we don’t have the arms to be effective. We’re at the point now where I just want to be able to play the game.”
Starting pitching has been a strong point for the team when the staff has enough rest. Tyler Lafo pitched well in narrow losses to New Milford and Oxford, according to Dibble.
“The starting pitchers have kept us in games,” Dibble said. “When we have to go to the bullpen, we kind of lose it.”
Naugatuck’s only win came on June 17 at Prospect-Beacon Falls. In that game, the team exploded for 25 runs on 21 hits. Aside from that game, though, Post 17 has struggled to score many runs.
“I really don’t know why,” Dibble said. “There has to be a certain amount of adjustment the kids have to make to the wood bats. They’re making solid contact and not striking out, but we’re not getting timely hitting. We’ve had opportunities, we’re just not capitalizing.”