BEACON FALLS — The Woodland baseball team has shaken off a tough start to the season and came away with a 6-4 win over Naugatuck on Monday.
Tanner Kingsley handcuffed the ‘Hounds with a lethal curveball, scattering six hits and striking out six through five innings on the hill.
The Hawks (3-6) snapped a three-game skid and lead the whole way. Woodland plated two unearned runs in the first inning against Naugatuck pitcher Spencer Dreher and the Greyhounds chased the lead for the remainder of the game.
“Naugatuck is such a well-coached team,” Woodland coach Mike Kingsley said. “Tom Deller does a great job over there and to pick up a win against them to end our losing streak was huge for us to get back on track.”
Naugy (4-5) came into the neighboring rivalry on a hot streak, winning three of four, including last Friday’s 4-3 comeback win over Seymour. Scott Sill belted the game-winning two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning and John Dean struck out the side with the tying run on third base to pick up the save versus the Wildcats.
But two first-inning gaffes cost the ‘Hounds Monday. Woodland’s Anthony Scirpo scored from third base on a balk before Mike Kenney reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dave Uhl.
Naugatuck sliced the deficit in half when John Dean scored on an RBI single from Adam Taveras, but Kingsley wiggled out of the jam with Woodland holding a 2-1 lead.
The Hawks padded their lead in the second. Anthony Ross (two doubles, RBI) belted a double to center to spark some momentum, although he was later cut down on a fielder’s choice. Nick Brown drew a walk and came home on a single by Scirpo up the third-base side to open up a 3-1 advantage.
The Greyhounds closed the gap in the third when Kevin Mariano singled to right and scored on a single by Dreher to left. Kingsley pulled the plug on the uprising, recording two strikeouts to end the inning.
“We’ve been playing pretty good lately but we haven’t been able to finish games off,” said Mike Kingsley, whose team has lost three games by two runs or fewer. “I thought today we finally put together a complete game, getting pitching, defense and offense.”
Woodland tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Matt Spofford came home on a throwing error by the pitcher for the first run before Ross drilled a double that scored Steve Baeder to make it a 5-2 lead.
Kingsley slammed the door in the fifth inning and as Naugatuck came to bat in the bottom of the sixth the ‘Hounds were running out of chances.
Anthony D’Agnone came on in relief to start the sixth inning and issued a walk to Kyle Plasky. One out later, Dean got a hold of a two-strike pitch and sent it to the deepest part of the ballpark. The ball took a high bounce off the top of the center field fence, 356 feet away from the plate, and went over for a two-run homer. That cut the deficit to 5-4.
D’Agnone settled down and put away the ‘Hounds striking out two in the final inning. The Hawks scored an insurance run when Uhl singled in the seventh and came home on another Greyhounds error for the 6-4 final margin.
“Tanner gave us a good solid five innings,” Mike Kingsley said. “I thought Anthony came in and closed it out for us. He missed the location on one fastball and Naugatuck took advantage but after that he was lights out.”
Naugatuck visits Watertown on Wednesday before playing its first home game of the season Friday against Ansonia at Rotary Field. The Greyhounds will face St. Paul on Monday.
Woodland will host Holy Cross on Wednesday and play at Fulton Park on Thursday against Sacred Heart. If the Hawks win those two games, they could get back to the .500 mark Monday at home against Kennedy.