Diamond Dawgs increase lead over River Rats
The Winter Park Diamond Dawgs are slowly pulling away from the Sanford River Rats, as the Florida Collegiate Summer League season edges toward the playoffs.
After struggling last week, the Dawgs (27-10) got their groove back, going 8-2 in the last 10 games to pull out a 1.5 game lead over Sanford (26-12) as of midweek.
Meanwhile other teams in the league have fallen far behind, with the next closest contender Leesburg (17-23) now 11.5 games out of first.
The Orlando Mavericks (14-24), who had been in last place for much of the season, have surged to 7-3 in the last 10 games to draw within 13.5 games of the lead.
DeLand (11-26), which early in the season looked to be challenging for the league lead, has been decimated of late, falling to 16 games behind.
The Dawgs somehow managed to fall to Orlando on Monday night, despite leading the first four and a half innings of the game. In the fifth, the Mavericks unleashed a three-run rally to take the lead, which they'd hold onto for the 3-2 win.
In their most recent game against Sanford Sunday, the Dawgs' Bobby Bolling hurled a two-hitter through six innings when he was pulled.
By then, the game was already sealed for the Dawgs, thanks to Brad Hutton's towering grand slam in the third inning, part of a five-run rally.
In the eighth, Bolling's replacement, Kevin Welborn, was seven batters in without giving up a hit when the floodgates opened. The Rats would go on a wild five-run rally while managing only one hit, taking advantage of small ball tactics to bring the score to 8-5.
Once that rally was over, the Dawgs sealed the deal, finishing off the Rats to go another game ahead.
Up next for the league's top rivals, the Dawgs travel to the Rats, taking the first pitch at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.