SEYMOUR — On the day when the Seymour baseball team honored their former coach, Bob Kelo, who died this past year, the team played like one of Kelo’s teams.
“This is very reminiscent of a lot of the beginning of Kelo’s seasons,” Seymour coach Jeff Gilbert said. “Where we just don’t have good approaches, we have to get more at bats.”
The Wildcats’ bats were silenced in their 5-3 loss to Naugatuck to open the season.
“We’re just being too picky at the plate right now and we just have to go get it,” he said.
Kelo, the longtime coach at Seymour, died in July of last year. He won 438 games and led Seymour to a state title in 2007. He led his teams to five other state championship games and 11 semifinals and was named the New Haven Register All-Area coach of the year twice.
Gilbert played for Kelo and then coached with him, before taking over as coach when he retired after the 2015 season.
“When you played for him there are days that you didn’t like him that much, he was a tough coach,” Gilbert said. “He always got your back and he would do anything to help you.
“I just really miss the guy. This time of the year he would be texting me, asking how the team is doing and things like that and it’s not something he is going to be able to do.”
Naugatuck coach Tom Deller coached against Kelo and the two were friends.
“He was one of those guys that you hated to play because his teams were so well prepared, but you go hang out with him (after),” Deller said.
Deller said that during the game he looked over at the third base coaches’ box and had to do a double take.
“I looked down at Jeff and he looks like Bobby Kelo’s little brother,” Deller said, “At one point he even looked down at the umpire and said something sarcastic and I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t Bobby down there.”
“I learned sarcasm 101 from the best,” Gilbert said.
Naugatuck’s Brady Evon pitched a complete game in the win. He struck out 10 batters, allowed just three hits and one earned run.
“He pitches, that’s what he does,” Deller said. “He’s been doing it since he was eight years-old.”
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) April 10, 2021
Evon, a junior, hadn’t pitched in a high school game since his freshman year and didn’t know what to expect when the game started.
“I was not expecting that,” he said. “I was expecting to work hard and hope good things would happen.”
Evon didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and at one point seven straight outs were all strikeouts.
“I was painting the corner pretty consistently,” he said. “I was getting the calls and they weren’t adjusting.”
Seymour’s John DeBarber hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
Naugatuck’s Mike Rusin led the way for the Greyhounds with two hits and two RBIs in the win.
“Historically we have not hit at all, but we hit the ball, even our outs were hard hit balls.” — Deller said about his team’s performance at the plate.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brady Evon, Nauagtuck — The junior pitcher was on his A-game all day, striking out 10 batters and throwing a complete game.