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The Batter's Box provides the latest baseball news coverage of the area's top teams, prospects and happenings from around Connecticut's diamond.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Derby Adjusting Well To Life In NVL

Before the season, Derby coach Sumner Sochrin knew this year’s group of Red Raiders looked promising. And the move from the Southern Connecticut Conference to what seems to be a more fitting Naugatuck Valley League has only helped.

So now the Red Raiders have their first state tournament berth since 2001 and find themselves still in the hunt for a NVL Brass Division crown.

“They made a good adjustment to the NVL,” Holy Cross coach Mike Phelan said. “They gave us a run for our money. They should have a shot in the NVL tournament.”

Derby nearly knocked off the NVL-leading Crusaders, falling to Holy Cross 7-6 early in the season. Senior right-hander Ryan Skelly has led a steady Red Raiders pitching staff, posting a 5-1 mark and 1.90 ERA before Monday’s game against Wolcott. Phelan calls Skelly one of the top pitchers he’s seen all season.

Sophomore Ray Krieger is also 4-0 entering the week.

But the biggest surprise has been Derby’s lineup, a question coming into the season. The Red Raiders have made a huge improvement at the plate, going from a team that hit .227 last year to a unit that is batting .324.

“Compared to last year, it’s been unreal,” Sochrin said.

Derby certainly showed offensive progress in a 27-5 win over Torrington on April 29. Heading into this week, Angelo DiSorbo is hitting .409. Along with his stellar season on the mound, Skelly is hitting .405. Mark Ippolito is also batting .392 and John Haydu is hitting .357.

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