SANFORD — The Florida Collegiate Summer League opened with a bang this past week, with action that included fantastic performances on the field as well as exciting fan events.
Opening night games at Sanford, Leesburg, DeLand and Winter Park were a huge hit, as hundreds of fans filed through the gates to show support to their respective FCSL teams.
Sanford’s opening night attracted 1,700 fans while Leesburg’s opener saw a packed stadium, which made for an energetic atmosphere at both ballparks.
The fun-filled week also included fireworks and giveaways at Sanford, Thunderstix and Fan Appreciation Nights at Leesburg, and a 13-inning thriller at Winter Park that is now considered an “instant classic” by FCSL personnel.
Defending champion Clermont played its home opener on Monday, but the DeLand Suns turned a pitching duel into a rout, breaking a 2-2 tie in the eighth and scoring five insurance runs in the ninth to win by the final score of 8-2.
The win allowed the Suns (3-1) to close to within a ½-game of league-leading Sanford (4-1), while the Mavericks fell to 2-2.
Without a doubt, however, the game of the week took place during the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs’ home opener vs. DeLand.
The Suns won 8-6 in 13 innings and the play was nothing less than remarkable.
Down 6-3 in the ninth inning, the Suns were desperate for runs. The first two batters were able to reach, bringing shortstop Taylor Wrenn (Manatee CC) to the plate. On a 1-1 count, Wrenn crushed the pitch over the wall for a game-tying home rum to send the game to extras.
It was the first home run of the 2009 FCSL season and a clutch hit that will be difficult to match.
In the bottom of the 12th, Winter Park threatened with a leadoff triple by Jeff Moyer (Palm Beach Atlantic) off of Suns’ closer Thomas Berryhill (Newberry).
However, Berryhill was able to collect himself, retiring two batters by strikeout and the third thanks to a web gem by second baseman Derek Luciano (UCF).
The Suns were able to finish the game by scoring two in the top of the 13th and shutting down the Diamond Dawgs in the bottom half, preserving the victory.
It was an amazing game, one that you had to “see it to believe it.”
The pitcher and the player of the week are voted on by the FCSL board every week during the season. The 2009 opening week player and pitcher to be honored were Maverick outfielder Evan Stermer (Palm Beach CC) and Suns’ closer Thomas Berryhill (Newberry).
There were many deserving of the award and the FCSL congratulates Stermer and Berryhill on their stellar play to earn this honor!