The DeLand Suns stayed near the top of the standings throughout the regular season, relying on a league-best 4.02 team ERA and a team batting average of .277, good for second in the League.
After securing the #3 seed in the playoffs, the Suns squared off against rival Winter Park. In game one, they needed 12 innings and some clutch hitting to take home the victory. After being shut out in game two, they bounced back on the road in game three, using the help of a triple-play to squash a late Winter Park rally and hold on for the win.
The Suns bats remained hot at the Trop as they plated 10 runs en route to their first Florida League championship. Outfielder Bryan Adametz (NC State), a three-year veteran of the Florida League, was named MVP after hitting a grand slam and finishing with five RBI.
Baseballs flew out of the ballpark in 2012, as the six Florida League teams hit an impressive 158 combined home runs, a staggering 101 longball difference in last year's total (57). As a result, every returning team set a new record for number of runs scored in a season, with the Leesburg Lightning leading the charge with 317 runs in 41 games (7.73 runs per game).
Power was not the only tool on display, however, as the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs obliterated the mark for stolen bases, swiping an astounding 177 bases in 40 games. Four of the top five base stealers in the League suited up for Winter Park this season.
One player in particular played a prominent role in helping to set these new records.
League Most Valuable Player Michael Danner (Tampa) of the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs had one of the greatest all around offensive seasons in League history. He led the FCSL in home runs (8), stolen bases (32), hits (52) and triples (3) and also finished in the Top 5 in the League in runs scored _ 39 which was good for second _ and batting average _ .349 which was third in the league.
On the defensive end, Danner flashed a respectable .989 fielding percentage at first base. To top off his stellar season, Danner was also the home run derby champion at this year's all-star game.
A number of other Florida League records were set during the historic 2012 season.
Orlando Freedom third baseman Mark Nelson (Florida Atlantic) led the league in batting average (.370) and set a record for most doubles in a season with 16. His 81 total bases would have been a League record if not for MVP Danner's 89.
Winter Park outfielder Daniel Sweet (Polk State) had the painful honor of setting a record for most times hit by pitch (14).
On the mound, Leesburg Lightning reliever Trey Norris became a familiar face at Pat Thomas Stadium, as he set a new record for most appearances (23). Fellow Lightning pitcher Michael Clutterbuck (Macomb CC) tied for the second most wins in a season ever with seven.
The Orlando Monarchs were a welcome addition to the Florida League family. By bringing baseball back to Historic Tinker Field in downtown Orlando, team founder and President Rickie Weeks Sr. hopes to inspire local youth to regain an interest in America's oldest game. The Monarchs featured Bethune-Cookman senior outfielder David Lee, who was named by League coaches as the Best Pro Prospect.
The Leesburg Lightning and Winter Park Diamond Dawgs were both featured in Baseball America's top 25 national rankings during the season. Couple that with the 27 current and former FCSL players who were drafted between June 4-6, and it is easy to see why the Florida League continues to gain national recognition as one of the premier wood bat summer leagues in all of America.
Here are the 2012 League Award winners:
* League MVP _ Michael Danner, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.
* Cy Young Award _ Evan Incinelli, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.
* Coach of the Year _ Rick Hall, DeLand Suns.
* Outstanding Pro Prospect _ David Lee, Orlando Monarchs.
* Outstanding Relief Pitcher _ Reilly Monkman, DeLand Suns.
* David Eckstein Sportsmanship Award _ Jeff Lemon, DeLand Suns.
* Batting Champion _ Mark Nelson, Orlando Freedom.
* Stolen Base Leader _ Michael Danner, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.
* League Strikeout Leader _ Cary Baxter, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.
* Championship Game MVP _ Bryan Adametz, DeLand Suns.
* Home Run Derby Champion _ Michael Danner, Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.
* All-Star Game MVP _ Mark Nelson, Orlando Freedom.
* 2012 Regular Season Champions _ Leesburg Lightning.
* 2012 Florida League Champions _ DeLand Suns.
2012 Team Awards:
* MVP _ Jeff Lemon.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ Reilly Monkman.
* Sportsmanship Award _ Jeff Lemon.
* MVP _ Brett Moreland.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ Trey Norris.
* Sportsmanship Award _ Kyle Teaf.
* MVP _ Mark Nelson.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ Josh Strong.
* Sportsmanship Award _ Nick Neitzel.
* MVP _ David Lee.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ Drew Gay.
* Sportsmanship _ Antwan Brown.
Sanford River Rats:
* MVP _ Keith Curcio.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ John Sever.
* Sportsmanship _ Keith Curcio.
Winter Park Diamond Dawgs:
* MVP _ Michael Danner.
* Most Valuable Pitcher _ Evan Rivera.
* Sportsmanship _ Evan Rivera.