A three-way tie has ratcheted up tension in the Florida Collegiate Summer League as it’s just a couple weeks away from the postseason, and the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs aren’t in it.
The Altamonte Springs Boom (17-9-1), sole owners of first place since the start of June, were finally caught by the Sanford River Rats (18-10-1) and Leesburg Lightning (19-11) in the last week. At one point the Lightning had even overtaken them, though a 4-1 loss to DeLand (14-14) brought everything back to parity.
Meanwhile the Dawgs (10-17), who have struggled for much of the season to recapture the magic of 2014, are 7 ½ games out and on yet another losing streak. After falling from third place in the league to just above last they’ve remained largely stagnant at a comfortable floor above the Winter Garden Squeeze (5-22).
The Dawgs haven’t figured out how to keep a winning streak going so far, having beaten Leesburg on July 13 in the first of a doubleheader, only to fall 3-1 in the second half.
Then against Sanford Tuesday, after leading most of the game by a narrow two runs, the Dawgs gave it all away when an until-then nearly flawless Trevor Tinder, who leads the league in strikeouts, fell apart on the mound in the sixth. Then the floodgates opened. Nine runs later the Dawgs were left with their biggest comeback loss of the season, and had just handed the Rats a share of first place.
It was an evening of loud outs for the Dawgs, who were only struck out three times in the game, all by starter Stephen Chamblee, but couldn’t string together enough hits to manufacture runs. Daniel Woodrow, who smacked two hits in the game, is still third in the league with a .311 batting average.
After a grudge match against Sanford at press time Wednesday, looming in the distance for the Dawgs is a matchup against the DeLand Suns, against whom they’re 3-2 so far. They’ll face Jason Carmichael, who has a 5.00 ERA so far this season. The Dawgs have listed All Star pitcher Adam Polansky, with 18 strikeouts in five outings, as probable.