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SOUTHINGTON — Here in the first months of 2021, Southington has lost two of its golden boys from the 1950s, Dick Lorenzo and Mike Mauro.
The two were cousins and both were charter members of the Southigton Sports Hall of Fame.
Lorenzo, who was ill with mesothelioma, was 82 when he passed away on Jan. 13. Mauro died unexpectedly at age 86 on Feb. 15.
Both starred at Southington High School in the 1950s in baseball and basketball. In fact, Mauro’s .567 batting average from the 1953 season still stands as the best in school history.
Lorenzo went on to play baseball at Fairfield University and also made a name for himself in softball as a player and in basketball as a college and high school coach.
Mauro, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, also made a name for himself in bocce. He captured the United Nations bocce title in 1983.
It all started in a backyard bocce court on Liberty Street, where Mauro, nicknamed “Mousy,” grew up with 10 siblings.
“He was a very modest person,” said Mauro’s friend, Art Secondo. “If it was a sport with a round ball, Mousy was excellent.
“As a bocce player, he was strategist and was always looking how to place the ball,” Secondo added. “He’s one of the best. In that era, he was one of the best athletes in Southington.”
In baseball, Mauro compiled a 20-3 record pitching for Southington High from 1951-52. He was 6-1 as a sophomore, 7-1 as a junior and 7-1 again as a senior.
That final season, Mauro struck out 87 batters in 67 innings. He fired three shutouts, including a no-hitter, and posted an ERA of 1.35.
At the plate, opponents struggled to get Mauro out. He led the team in doubles (7), triples (6) and RBI (24) in amassing that .567 average that has not been surpassed by a Southington hitter in the 67 seasons since.
Mauro also averaged 13.4 points on the basketball court throughout his high school career. Southington was 17-3 in his junior year and enjoyed a perfect 19-0 regular season in his senior campaign. In both seasons, Southington reach the state semifinals.
Lorenzo, coming along shortly after Mauro, also dominated in basketball and baseball. He was an All-State basketball player, finishing just shy of 1,000 points for his high school career.
On the baseball diamond, Lorenzo hit .460 his senior year in 1957. He went on to play at Fairfield University as a scholarship player and hit over .300 in three straight seasons before graduating in 1961 with a degree in business education.
After college, Lorenzo played slow-pitch softball and captured seven state titles as well as seven New England championships.
His 16-year coaching career in basketball featured a record of 216-138 and stops at St. Thomas Seminary, Simsbury High School, Mattatuck Community College and Wesleyan University. The last stop, from 1984-1991, was at Southington High School, where he was a business teacher.
Southington native Bob Mastrianni knew Lorenzo since he was 7 years old playing Little League at Recreation Park. Eventually, Mastrianni joined Lorenzo’s staff at St. Thomas Seminary in the mid-70s.
“He was really outgoing,” Mastrianni recalled. “He always had a smile, unless we lost. He was really good with kids, very affable and a delight to be around. We had lots of laughs at our pre-game meals on the way to the seminary in Hartford.”
Mastrianni said Lorenzo was a fair coach who got the most out of his players. He was a teacher in the Southington school system for 34 years.
Mauro spent two years in the United States Armed Services and when he returned, worked as a Plumber/Pipefitter for Local 777, until his retirement in 1997. Mauro’s funeral mass is Saturday morning at St. Thomas Church at 10 a.m.