Southington South Little League proud despite defeat in District 5 tournament

Published on Friday, 12 July 2019 19:25
Written by ZACK CARPENTER

@ZACKCARPENTERBP

SOUTHINGTON - Southington South’s Little League Baseball all-stars lost to Farmington 8-3 on Thursday, seeing its season end at the hands of its rival, which won a third straight District 5 tournament championship. 

The loss, however, felt much different than what the team experienced just three days prior. 

South walked away from a 15-0 defeat at the hands of Farmington on Monday with about as much confidence as could be expected following a blowout loss. 

After the debilitating feeling of having been scathed for 10 runs in the first inning and seeing things spiral quickly out of control, were head coach Curtis Migliore and his players feeling a little intimidated? 

“No,” Migliore said simply. “Not at all.”

That’s how, after taking down Southington North to set up a rematch with Farmington, South went into a game against a Farmington club South had beaten four out of seven times the two teams had played this season. 

That included a 3-0 win in the final regular-season matchup, when they defeated Sanjay Patel - Thursday’s starting pitcher - and South’s starter on Thursday. Paul Cavanaugh, had thrown a complete-game shutout to give the team a feeling of “bravado,” says Migliore. 

“We play against them so much. We know what they do,” Migliore said. “[Thursday] it didn’t happen. Same situation, same field. Different result. That’s how it goes.”

Migliore was proud of his kids for not backing down and not rolling over after witnessing Farmington stroll through the district bracket with two easy wins by a combined 35-1 score.

“I’m proud of the way the kids responded,” Migliore said. “The kids are resilient, and luckily they have short memories. … They don’t back down. We just had a bad game, and we said to everybody, ‘Let’s brush it off.’ We had to go the next day and beat the North to get here, and we did that.”

There are two reasons the players were able to have a much better outing the second time around. 

For one, it’s a group familiar with each other.

“A lot of these kids feel like they’re brothers because they’re together so much,” Migliore said. “They play together in the fall and spring, they play basketball together, they go to school together. They see each other all the time. 

“This is a great group of kids that’s been playing together since 8U all the way until [Thursday]. This is five years of working together.”

But perhaps more important, the growth and maturity of a team that’s a year older showed itself throughout this summer.

“Last year there was a lot of in-fighting on the bench,” Migliore said. “This year, they were just more cohesive. We went into the season with the mantra of just ‘Together.’ Everything was focusing on being together.”

“A lot of times, [last year], they would strike out and would go to the bench. A teammate would say, ‘Hey, it’s OK,’ and put their arm around them. And the kid would just fire back at him, snap back at him, because they were upset. This season was more allowing yourself to be picked up. Allow your teammate to come in and help you out.”

As South’s players will now go their separate directions, headed to different travel ball programs and different schools, they say goodbye to a successful season together. 

“They had a great season. I can’t diminish that. They were great,” Migliore said. “That wasn’t the way we wanted to end it, obviously, but they were everything I could’ve asked for. It’s not gonna stay together, unfortunately, but I want them to appreciate what they had.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or zcarpenter@bristolpress.com



Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington on Friday, 12 July 2019 19:25. Updated: Friday, 12 July 2019 19:27.