The Winter Park Diamond Dawgs opened up their season with two straight losses Friday and Saturday, as the Florida Collegiate Summer League took its first pitches of 2016. But then they took it out on the reigning league champions with a comeback blowout win.
Both of the Dawgs’ opening weekend losses came by narrow margins in low scoring games, as Winter Park’s pitching tried to keep the team in games to no avail. Friday night the Dawgs’ Trevor Tinder gave up just one run on two hits while striking out nine and still took the loss after the Dawgs stranded all four of their base runners in the 1-0 loss.
In the next game, against Altamonte Springs, the Dawgs again showed stellar pitching with Justin Kortessis giving up just one run on one hit with two strikeouts in five innings of work. Kyle Friday came in to close and allowed just a run on two hits and ended up with the loss anyway after the Dawgs managed to get seven hits but still took a 2-1 loss.
It was an ominous start for the league’s most prolific team, dropping them quickly to the bottom of the league standings.
Winter Park (1-2) opened the year as the reigning all-time record holder for FCSL championships, with four. Tuesday night they showed they still have what it takes to take down a champ when they knocked over the 2015 FCSL champion Sanford River Rats in an 8-2 win.
Opening the season the Rats (2-2) had already spanked the Leesburg Lightning on opening day Thursday, narrowly lost to the Lightning (2-2) the next night, then handed out a 18-8 mercy-rule walloping of the Lightning on Saturday night.
That wild Saturday night result came from five straight Rats rallies, piling on all 18 runs in just those five innings. Second baseman Omar Villaman made the most of the night, with five runs, five RBI and three hits, including two doubles to propel the Rats. Villaman is second in the FCSL with a .647 batting average, and second in RBI with seven.
Reed Hayes launched his first homerun of the season in the rout, which was cut short when the scoring gap was still 10-runs wide after a desperate three-run top of the seventh by the Lightning. By then the Rats’ pitching was also feeling the heat, giving up eight runs in the first six innings before Wyatt Wade stepped in to shut down the Lightning in the final inning. Up until that game the Rats’ pitching had allowed just three runs per game.
While the Rats were having a season-opening squabble with Leesburg the Altamonte Springs Boom took the lead in the standings with a 2-0 record at the start of this week.
All the teams had scheduled games Wednesday night at press time. The Dawgs travel tonight, but host the DeLand Suns at 7 p.m. Friday at their alternate home stadium at Bishop Moore High School. Sanford hosts Altamonte at 7 p.m. tonight at Sanford Memorial Stadium. Check Floridaleague.com for game times and more stats.