WHERE: Heller Bros. Ballpark (on the campus of West Orange High School), 1625 Beulah Road, Winter Garden
ADMISSION: $5 for adults; $3 for youth/seniors/military; free for Little Leaguers in team jerseys and children ages 6 and younger.
WINTER GARDEN — The Winter Garden Squeeze are no longer the new kids on the block in the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
That distinction belongs to the Altamonte Springs Boom — a first-year franchise which the Squeeze faced in the opening series of their second season in the league.
After two games elongated by delays — whether a weather delay postponing the start of the home-opener in Winter Garden until 8:30 p.m. June 5 or a delay after an umpire was injured in the game June 6 in Altamonte Springs — the opening series was split, as the home team won each contest.
The Squeeze (1-1) edged the Boom in a pitchers’ duel in the opener, 2-1, but were soundly outhit by Altamonte Springs Saturday in a 7-1 defeat.
Still, Friday’s win was a significant milestone for first-year manager and former big-league catcher Eddie Taubensee, a Windermere resident. It was his first victory leading the team.
“Obviously, a win is a win no matter how you get it,” Taubensee said, referencing the four errors his ballclub made in the opener. “I was proud of our pitchers — even when we put them in situations where we were playing with fire, they stayed focused and they made (the proper) pitches.”
Where Winter Garden’s bats never truly came alive and the defense had a few mistakes, the pitching for the Squeeze was a bright spot Friday. Ian Doughty (New Mexico J.C.) got the start, tossing four scoreless innings before being relieved by Taylor Knight (Alabama A&M). Knight was credited with the win for his two innings of work before being relieved by Ben Link (Brewton-Parker College). D’andre Knight (Seminole State) earned the save with two innings of scoreless work that saw him strike out four Boom hitters. Winter Garden’s two runs in the victory came by way of bases-loaded walks, during an inning where the team had no hits.
Caleb Maggio pitched well as a reliever for the Squeeze in the team’s defeat Saturday, allowing one unearned run over four innings of work.
After a midweek series against DeLand — with games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — the Squeeze will take on the Leesburg Lightning in a three-game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (all games to start at 7 p.m.). Friday’s game will be at home, and the other two contests will take place in Leesburg.
The Lightning (2-0) swept DeLand in its opening series, with Tanner Long (Lake Sumpter) leading the way by going 7-for-9 at the plate and scoring five runs. Long was the Player of the Week from the league’s opening weekend.