The Winter Garden Squeeze rattled off a five-game winning streak last week that has them atop the Florida Collegiate Summer League standings entering the third week of play.
After taking the series finale against DeLand on June 8, the Squeeze (7-3) swept a pair of weeknight games against Leesburg that set up a weekend series against defending champion Winter Park with first place on the line.
Winter Garden won games on Friday and Saturday, both on the road at Alfond Stadium in Winter Park, before falling at the series finale at home on Sunday. The series victory has the Squeeze a full game ahead of the Diamond Dawgs (7-5) as they prepare for a mid-week series against Sanford.
“It’s good just so the kids can know that we played good against the defending champs,” Winter Garden coach Ruben Felix said. “Winning two-of-three like we just did this weekend is big for us.”
The Squeeze outscored their opponents 30-12 during the winning streak before Sunday’s 8-4 loss. Though Winter Garden looked sloppy at times in the defeat, Felix isn’t overly concerned that the loss might derail his ballclub’s momentum of late, noting that his players had grinded out an impressive 5-4 win the night before.
“We were kind of sluggish — day game after a night game,” Felix said. “That happens even at the big-league level.”
Though there’s no place like home and the Squeeze have enjoyed solid fan support so far in their first season of existence, the Winter Garden ballclub is making it known that it is not to be trifled with on the road. The Squeeze are 4-1 on the road so far this season and 3-2 in home games at West Orange High School.
Heading into the series with the River Rats, the final remaining team that Winter Garden is seeing for the first time this season, and then a weekend set against College Park, the group of strangers that came together a few weeks ago is starting to come together as a formidable ballclub.
“We’ve really meshed as a team,” catcher Andrew Mogg said. “It’s really fun — especially when we’re winning.”
West Orange alumnus Mogg away on mission trip
Squeeze catcher Andrew Mogg, a junior at Virginia Tech who played his high school ball locally here at West Orange, will be leaving the team for two weeks for a good cause.
Mogg departs for a mission trip in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, as he and others from City Beautiful Church in downtown Orlando will be helping to build a wall around a school. Mogg had been a part of a mission trip two years ago that helped to lay the groundwork for the school, which serves a poor village in the Dominican Republic, and is eager to go back and continue to lend a helping hand.
“An opportunity like this is just too hard to pass up,” Mogg said. “Down there they’d die to have the opportunities we have and that just shows you how blessed we are.”
Mogg is one of many bright spots for Winter Garden early in the season, hitting .353 with 5 RBIs and a pair of doubles.
Who’s Crush-ing it?
In honor of Crush, the mascot for the Winter Garden Squeeze, each week we will highlight a pitcher and a batter who “Crush-ed” it for the team during the previous week of play.
Leading Winter Garden at the plate this week was Matthew Reyes. Reyes, a Midland, Texas native who is a rising senior second baseman for the University of New Mexico, hit .526 on the week with 4 RBIs and 5 runs.
On the hill, Chris Fee was stellar in earning his second win of the season. Fee, an Olympia alumnus and rising senior at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, pitched six innings without surrendering an earned run and while allowing just two hits in the Squeeze’s 11-3 win over Leesburg.
Fee has an ERA of 0.71 through two starts this season.