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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shelton snaps Naugatuck's 64-game winning streak in 1972 state semifinals

The Naugatuck High baseball team took the field against Shelton in the CIAC Class A semifinals on June 6, 1972, with a chance to make history. Or so it thought at the time.

Naugatuck, having won 64 straight games, was under the impression that a victory would tie Waxahachie, Texas, for the longest winning streak in national scholastic history.

Shelton would snap the streak with a stunning 4-2 victory, played before an overflow crowd of 6,000 at Yale Field, a loss that proved to be especially bitter for the Greyhounds.

As it turns out, Naugatuck still would have had a bit more work to do to obtain the record. Unbeknownst at the time (at least in Connecticut), a team from Capitol Hill (Okla.) had won 66 straight games from 1952-54. And the actual record holder was Archbishop Molloy of Briarwood, N.Y., winners of 68 in a row from 1963-66.

Of course, it’s unlikely that information would have eased the sting for Naugatuck, which last experienced a loss three years earlier to Lyman Hall in the 1969 state tournament.

While Naugatuck and Shelton played in different leagues, the teams were quite familiar with each other. They played five times in the preseason. Shelton won two of those scrimmages, and felt it was every bit the equal of its Valley rival. Perhaps better.

“You want me to make a prediction?” Shelton catcher Rich Norko had told Register schools sports editor Mark Lewis early in the season. “I predict us defeating Naugatuck in the tournament. I guess that means we’ll go all the way.”

Naugatuck, 20-0 entering the showdown, had a few close calls during its 64-game run.

Read Chip Malafronte's compete story

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