Naugy defends Musial State Crown

Copyright Rick Wilson   Rep-American 7/30/12
Municipal Stadium  — The sixth inning belonged to the skunk. But Ken Graveline and the Naugatuck Dogs owned the night.
The Dogs captured their second straight Stan Musial title Monday night by subduing Fedell’s of Bridgeport, 4-1, at Municipal Stadium in front of a large smattering of fans. Both teams will play in the North American Baseball Federation Regional beginning Aug. 9, in West Haven.
The skunk emerged from behind the backstop and ambled towards the Naugatuck dugout, causing the Dogs to scatter and bringing out an amused Fedell’s team from the other dugout, prompting umpires to call the game for several minutes. Finally, the skunk went into a hole that a bucket was put in front of and his night was done. It wasn’t enough to upstage Graveline anyway.
Pitching for the first time in almost two weeks, the deceptive right hander kept the Mechanics at bay throughout, allowing a paltry three hits and ending the game in spectacular fashion when he jumped and speared Matt Memoli’s hard groundball up the middle with runners on first and second and made the throw to first to end the game.
“I wanted this one real bad and I know the guys did, too,” said Graveline. “I just let (Fedell’s) put the ball in play and let my awesome defense do the work. On the last play, I saw the ball coming and just tried to get it. On the pileup after my shortstop (Macky Cianciolo) said I should have let it go through.”
Graveline also contributed an RBI single for the Dogs first run of the game, making it a pretty complete night. Enough to impress Fedell’s coach Mike Fedell. “We didn’t hit and (Graveline) was good, very good,” said Fedell. “Naugatuck is a good team with good defense and the pitching was outstanding.” Naugatuck, 21-3 on the season with all three losses by one run in the Tri-State League, didn’t exactly light up the Mechanics duo of starter Sam Iverson and reliever Mike Olszyk, but they strung enough hits together with a few errors to take the lead and keep it.
Graveline’s RBI single made it 1-0 in the third inning and the Dogs added another run in the fifth when Sean Miller-Jones singled took second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Mike James on Cianciolo’s ground ball. Fedell’s stranded two men in the fifth inning but finally broke through in the sixth when Memoli singled, moved to second on a walk, reached third on a fly out and came home when John Ascenzia stole second and the Dogs threw down.
After the skunk threatened to put a pall over the night, the Dogs struck right back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sean Miller-Jones belted a long triple to center field and scored on a wild pitch. Devin Murphy then doubled and scored on an error when Kyle Faucher singled to left and James could not handle the throw to third base. “This is as good as the first one,” said Naugatuck coach Jay Harlamon. “We played great defense and Ken (Graveline) is a gamer. He wanted the ball. We were seeded low last year and won. We wanted to make sure that nobody thought that was a fluke.
Mission accomplished.
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