A dream day for Lewis, Donatello
Montville's Taylor Lewis felt the need to relax, so he ventured to a stock pond in his back yard and dropped a fishing line into the water.
Salem's Sean Donatello, meanwhile, sat by his computer watching "Draft Tracker" on MLB.com when he saw his own name pop up on the screen.
"And not a second after that my phone started ringing," Donatello said.
It turned into an afternoon when both former Eastern Connecticut Conference stars had their dreams realized.
Lewis, who recently concluded his junior season at Maine with a trip to the NCAA regionals in Chapel Hill, N.C., was taken in the 10th round (302nd overall) of Major League Baseball's amateur draft Tuesday by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And Donatello, an East Lyme graduate who helped lead UConn-Avery Point to back-to-back appearances in the Division II Junior College World Series, was selected in the 25th round (763rd overall) by the Florida Marlins.
Both said Tuesday night they expect to sign professional contracts in the near future, although Donatello does have the option of attending the University of New Haven, where he signed a letter of intent this spring.
"It's a dream come true," said Donatello, a right-handed pitcher who went 11-0 with a 0.58 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 77 innings at Avery Point before losing his only game in the World Series. "New Haven is a great program and gave me a scholarship, but this is pro ball and ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a pro player. ... I don't know if I'll ever get this opportunity again."
Lewis, meanwhile, finished his three-year career at Maine in style, earning Most Outstanding Player honors after leading the Black Bears to the America East title (he hit .417) and an NCAA tourney bid. Maine went 1-2 at North Carolina, winning an elimination game against Florida International.
"It was a nice way to end it," said Lewis, who started all 57 games in center field for the Black Bears and finished his career with a .321 batting average, 118 runs and 92 RBI. "You always want to go a little further, but in the end it was a great experience."
"He's an athletic specimen," Montville coach Phil Orbe said. "And he was like that when he came in as a 14-year-old freshman. ... He's a very special athlete and I always knew he had a chance. It must be a dream come true for him and his family."
Avery Point coach Roger Bidwell said Donatello made a dramatic improvement from his first season with the Pointers to this season.
"He was on nobody's radar and than everybody had to see him," Bidwell said. "From his freshman year to this year his jump in velocity and command was unbelievable. He went from 88 to 92 (miles per hour) and topped off at 94 a few times ... that's going to get you a chance.
"He's got a lot of work to do, but that's the good news because he's only going to get better. I really believe in him as a person and a pitcher."
Six more Huskies go
A day after UConn's George Springer and Matt Barnes were selected in the first round, six more Huskies were drafted on Tuesday.
Shortstop Nick Ahmed went in the second round to Atlanta (No. 85 overall), outfielder John Andreoli went in the 17th round to the Cubs (519th overall), pitcher Greg Nappo went in the 18th round to Florida (553rd overall), closer Kevin Vance went in the 19th round to the White Sox (591st overall), first baseman Mike Nemeth went in the 21st round to Milwaukee (641st overall) and pitcher David Fischer went in the 30th round to San Francisco (927th overall).
UConn, fresh off its win in the Clemson Regional, begins a best-of-three NCAA sub regional series on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2) at defending national champion South Carolina.