BRISTOL - The Southington South 10U all-star baseball team is raising a banner.
Led by Rocco Davino on the mound and shortstop Connor Lentini, Southington South took control early and never looked back, defeating Berlin 5-1 in a deciding Game 3 at McCabe Waters Field en route to the District 5 Championship Tuesday night.
“It’s a great feeling and we appreciate it,” Southington South head coach Jamie Leggett said after the victory. “There’s a pressure [on us] because the last team from Southington to do [win the district] won the Regionals, so we have to live up to that. But we are going to enjoy this for a couple of days for sure.”
Davino was lights out on the mound from the beginning for Southington. The pitcher gave up the lone run in the first inning on an RBI-single from Berlin’s Justin Eckrote. Davino gave up just five hits and walked one batter in 5.1 innings of work. He also struck out two batters, both coming in the fourth inning to halt a Berlin rally.
“When I start off a batter with a strike, it kind of gets me motivated,” Davino said. “And then I get comfortable and try to build off of that.”
Noah Legnani and Gabriel Satalino were the only Berlin hitters who had an answer for Davino. Both Legnani and Satalino each had two hits in the game, with Satalino’s both going for extra bases.
Davino was fortunate to have great defense behind him, led by Lentini. The shortstop made plays all game long, including one leaping and one diving grab in the sixth inning to help secure the win.
“If I dropped either one of those, I definitely would have been mad,” Lentini said of the late plays. “But I kept playing my game and I would have even if I dropped one.”
Davino admitted having Lentini’s help, along with the rest of the defense, was a crucial part of his success.
“It helps me as the pitcher to have great defense,” Davino said. “They made great plays. But even when they make an error, they come back and do something amazing again.”
Lentini was also strong at the plate. He reached base twice, including a leadoff double in the fourth inning that started a three-run rally to help Southington South spread the gap.
“I just do my best to put the bat on the ball and get on base,” Lentini said. “I hope I get a hit or the defense doesn’t make the play so I can get on base and score.”
Despite the loss, Berlin head coach Matt Catalano was proud of the effort his team out forward, not only in the title game, but throughout the season.
“Overall this season, I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids,” Catalano said. “These kids came out and worked hard every single day and I could not be more proud of them.”
Southington South has a quick turnaround heading into the sectional round of the state tournament. The all-stars will play the winner of District 6 on Friday. Luckily for them, they won’t have to go very far, since Southington North is the host.
“I don’t see any issues with confidence,” Leggett said. “Anything can happen obviously, but we have the depth and the talent to get it done. So I feel pretty good about our team.”