BRISTOL - Rocco Davino and Connor Lentini have become quite the duo for the Southington South 10U Little League all-stars. It wasn’t more evident than on Tuesday night.
As Southington South lifted the District 5 championship banner, the two players were especially key in the deciding Game-3 win over Berlin. Davino pitched 5.1 innings of one-run ball while Lentini, a shortstop, had a pair of hits, including a leadoff double in the fourth inning to kick start a three-run rally for Southington.
“When we put this team together, guys like these two made it easy for us,” Southington South manager Jamie Leggett said. “We thought we had the pitching to do it, as evident by Rocco’s start [Tuesday]. We thought we had really good defense and we could hit. And I thought the team as a whole has done that well, especially Connor.”
Leggett said after the game his team’s depth in the rotation is one of its strong suits. But Davino has stood out as someone who can get the big outs when the team needs it most, something he proved against Berlin.
“We had no hesitation of putting Rocco on the mound [Tuesday],” Leggett said. “It was a big game and we knew it. Talking with the other coaches and looking at stats, we knew he was the guy who can get it done. He’s a big-game pitcher, even at 10 years old, which is really impressive.”
Lentini has been Southington South’s leadoff hitter all season has shown there isn’t much he can’t do from the batter’s box, whether it’s finding a whole to get on base, moving a runner over or causing havoc on the bases. But for him, the mindset is simple.
“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.”
Leggett knows he has one of the best players in the area at his disposal. But it isn’t Lentini’s ability that impresses the coach. It’s his mental approach to the game.
“I’ve said it time and time again, I think he’s the best shortstop in the district,” Leggett said of Lentini. “I know there are a lot of great ones, especially in this age group. He’s an all-around great player. He puts pressure on himself but he wants the ball hit to him, even in the big situation, which says a lot about him.”
Southington will take on Simsbury, the District 6 winner, in the first game of the sectional round Friday night. But with players like Davino and Lentini leading the charge, there’s no telling how far they can go.
“It’s a team game obviously,” Leggett said. “These two are great leaders and they set a great example, and the rest of the guys have done a tremendous job as well. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”