By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Post 17 American Legion baseball team is in the thick of things early in Zone 1.
Post 17 started the season 3-2 by relying on strong pitching and some timely hitting.
“We knew going into the season we would have to play small ball with such a young team,” head coach Jim Duda said. “But this is a great group of baseball kids and it’s pretty easy to coach since they know what they are doing. They make up for size with speed and baseball knowledge, which helps a lot.”
“Our pitching and defense has been really good,” Duda added. “Our hitting is making sure they are doing the small stuff, we are running the bases well and taking advantage of the walks, errors and passed balls.”
Post 17 managed only two hits against Bristol on June 19 at Muzzy Field but came away with a 4-2 win.
Derrick Jagello allowed just two hits and one run and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings on the hill. Ryan Tyszka pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief, scattering two hits, allowing one run and striking out two.
Jagello came through with a RBI single and Mike Rusin sent a double to the fence for the offensive attack.
Post 17 struggled at the plate June 20 in a 4-1 loss to Meriden.
Brady Evon went 4 innings on the mound, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs, striking out three. Ryan Sutherland pitched the final 3 innings, surrendering one hit and one run with one strikeout.
Mike Deitelbaum led the offense with two hits. Jagello, Alex Sosa and Tom Barry each added hits.
Naugy got back on the winning side of the ledger with a 5-1 win over Newington on June 23.
Andrew Tyszka got the start and pitched three innings for the win. Ryan Tyszka followed with two solid innings, and Sosa and Nicholas Bruno each tossed an inning in relief.
Deitelbaum had the hot bat again, belting out two hits and driving in two runs. Bruno added a double and Matt Kilmer hit a single.
“The pitching was solid again scattering just four hits,” Duda said. “I used some of the guys, Sosa and Bruno, that haven’t pitched yet just to get them some work and to work on some pitches.”
“Deitelbaum had his typical day with a double and a single and two RBI,” he added. “He has been swinging a really good bat. We didn’t have Derrick (Jagello), our leader, or Mike (Russin), another big bat, in the lineup but we stayed aggressive on the base paths.”
Naugatuck is scheduled to play Simsbury on June 27 before a rematch with West Hartford on June 30.
“West Hartford is a solid team that is well coached,” Duda said. “It will be good to get another shot at them after losing to them 7-2 to start the season. They are the team to beat in our zone.”