Season of streaks

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Naugatuck’s Jenna Miller pitches Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. Torrington won the game, 9-6. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s Jenna Miller pitches Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. Torrington won the game, 9-6. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — After a loss to Holy Cross on Tuesday, the Naugatuck softball team entered the final stretch of the regular season with a 7-7 record (7-6 NVL).

The season has been full of streaks for the Greyhounds. Lost two straight. Won three straight. Lost two straight.

The ‘Hounds had a big week last week, beating St. Paul, Ansonia, Kennedy and Sacred Heart by a combined score of 64-6. The team’s six seniors (Shannon Searles, Kara Klimaszewski, Erika Andreoli, Jenna Miller, Sandra Dinis and Lauren Burns) combined for 38 hits and 34 RBI in those four wins.

The seniors have been a key reason for the team’s success this season, mostly because they mesh together so well.

“This group has been great to play with,” said Searles, a captain. “All of us are getting along well and we understand each other.”

The seniors provide more than just statistics, though.

“Their leadership has put together a good thing with the team,” head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Working with the team, teaching them, and mostly leading by example. They have been supportive of everybody.”

There have been multiple other players for Naugy that have stepped up, as well. Alex Langhans picked up six hits last week with six RBI and a homerun. Jackie Aronin also had six hits, including a triple and six RBI. Taya Diaz chipped in with five RBI, including a homerun in a 20-0 rout against Sacred Heart.

Diaz and Aronin are part of a group of six juniors, which also includes McKenzie Staples, Jess Conover, Jenna Massicotte and Alyssa Barry. Andreoli said these 2016 graduates have played a huge role this year, even if they started games on the bench.

“I can’t pick just one or two players to point out,” said Andreoli, also a captain. “Every one of them has brought a spark to the team this season. Whether it is fielding or hitting, our juniors have so much potential that they will come back even stronger next season.”

Andreoli also pointed out the contributions of the sophomores, which includes Langhans. She said they have played small, but very overlooked roles, such as pinch-hitting and pinch-running.

Naugatuck’s Shannon Searles hits a two-run single Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. Torrington won the game, 9-6. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s Shannon Searles hits a two-run single Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. Torrington won the game, 9-6. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“The team has six sophomores ready to come in at anytime, which Coach Wesche loves,” she said.

Wesche also loves the way the team has played in the field. He said that fielding has been the area with the most consistency.

“Our defense has been pretty steady throughout,” Wesche said. “We have been limiting our mistakes and creating outs.”

Naugy’s roller-coaster of a year continued this week. After the four-win streak last week, this week started with back-to-back losses against Torrington and Holy Cross.

Searles and Andreoli each had two hits against Torrington on Monday, but Torrington took the 9-5 victory. The next day, the Greyhounds struggled to hit as they suffered a 4-2 defeat to the Crusaders.

Wesche believes that the senior leadership is just what the team needs to get over the hump entering the home stretch and get back on a winning streak.

Naugy will host Derby on Thursday. Next week, the Greyhounds have three scheduled away games against Watertown on May 11, Woodland on May 13, and Wilby on May 15.