South smashes North in FSCL All Star Game

FSCL All Star battle

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  • | 5:43 a.m. July 9, 2015
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - The Altamonte Springs Boom's Austin Glorius struck out three in a one-inning start as the Florida Collegiate Summer League took a mid-season break to show off its best at the All Star game Tuesday.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - The Altamonte Springs Boom's Austin Glorius struck out three in a one-inning start as the Florida Collegiate Summer League took a mid-season break to show off its best at the All Star game Tuesday.
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What started out as a nearly hitless pitchers’ duel exploded into a slugfest for the South team in the Florida Collegiate Summer League’s All Star Game on Tuesday.

Rain shut down the bat-happy prelude home run derby, delaying the game half an hour and cooling things off at the plate for the first four innings. But after nine frames it was a 7-1 blowout and the South team had an upset on their hands.

The game had seemingly been geographically stacked against the South, with that squad featuring players from the league’s bottom two teams, the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs and Winter Garden Squeeze, behind the league leading Altamonte Springs Boom by 5.5 and 11.5 games, respectively. Lucky for them, they had Boom players for their ringers.

Boom pitching phenom Austin Glorius struck out three in just an inning of work as the South team rotated a pitcher per inning. And the Boom’s No. 2 man on the mound, Devin Raftery, walked away with the win.

Matt Anderson, the Boom’s leadoff man, led the team toward a rout, getting on base all five times he came to the plate, including three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. And the Boom’s Chris Townsend went two-for-two with two RBI. Meanwhile the North team languished in the batter’s box, launching only five balls out of the infield all night and scoring their lone run on a throwing error.

The offense would only accelerate later in the game as the North team’s pitching and defense crumbled.

“I think we saw some nervousness from the pitchers being in the All Star game,” FCSL president Rob Sitz said. “But we had a lot of great performances out there.”

Each team would commit three errors on the night, resulting in extended rallies that made some innings that started with an out or two end up running beyond 20 minutes long. By the time the South scored four runs in the eighth inning, the game was long over.

For the Diamond Dawgs players on the South roster, earning a part of a rare win in July, it was a welcome respite. After starting off the month in a nosedive, the Dawgs may have leveled off before they hit the dirt, just coming out of a seven-game losing streak.

Meanwhile half the Florida Collegiate Summer League drew within a half a game of the lead, just in time for the All-Star Game.

The up-and-down week the Dawgs have slogged through to start an unusually hot July saw them emerge from one of the longest losing streaks in team history then fall right back into another one. At 8-12, the Dawgs have only been above .500 for one day all season.

Last season the Dawgs finished 25-17 and won the FCSL championship. One difference: a massive coaching staff change that saw the College Park Freedom’s old guard moved almost in its entirety and put in charge of the Dawgs. That franchise also happened to be the least successful in league history. The Freedom, in Orlando and then College Park, had only produced one season that they didn’t finish dead last — 2011, when they finished half a game ahead of the basement-dweller Winter Haven Loggerheads.

That change was made as the league was shifting out the Freedom and saying hello to the Altamonte Springs Boom. The Boom was an instant hit, blasting their way to the top of the league, where they’ve stayed for nearly the entire season so far.

“The Boom definitely have a lot of talented players,” Sitz said. “But it’s still a really tight race. Leesburg is probably the hottest team right now, and the River Rats are always competitive.”

As of Wednesday the league was in a tight bunch at the top, with the Boom still ahead, but with surging Leesburg Lightning and Sanford River Rats teams each only a half game out. Were it not for a rare tie game between the Rats and the Boom, it may be even closer.

Thursday the Dawgs travel to Leesburg for a doubleheader at 4 p.m. then 7 p.m. That same day the Rats host the Squeeze at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday the Dawgs host the Lightning at 5:30 p.m. to close out a rain-shortened game, then again at 7 p.m. Meanwhile on Friday, the Rats will travel to face the Squeeze at 7 p.m.


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