ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Adam Albers was the winning pitcher and Ryan Bronvich went 1-for-3 with two runs scored as they helped the Sanford River Rats claim the 2011 Florida Collegiate Summer League Championship with a 7-5 final in a game played at Tropicana Field on August 7.
Game Recap (courtesy of Neil Tredray)
The Sanford River Rats defeated the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs 7-5 to become the 2011 FCSL Champions at Tropicana Field Sunday night.
Just 15 days ago, the Rats fell to last place after a loss to the Winter Haven Loggerheads. Sanford went 9-4 in the ensuing games, fighting their way to the top.
In just 72 hours, the Rats went from being one strike away from the end of their season to league champions. Austin Liput (USC-Upstate) lined an RBI single up the middle to keep the River Rats' playoff dreams alive Thursday night.
Sunday's game was basically the two-month season compressed into nine innings of baseball that lasted just under three hours.
"They played until that 27th out," River Rats Head Coach Stephen Piercefield said. "They'll give you a little bit but they're going to take a lot. They were able to absorb the punches early in the game, keep grinding out at-bats, scrape a run here and there, and it all adds up in the end."
Winter Park threw a haymaker in the first inning as Ted Blackman (Coastal Carolina), B.J. Zimmerman (Tampa), and Austin Chubb (Florida Southern) all took walks before Michael Danner (Polk State College) hit a bases clearing triple. Danner then stole home for a seemingly devastating early 4-0 lead.
"They're a fantastic ball club," Piercefield said of Winter Park. "This entire league is very competitive and they are a tremendous team with a great pitching staff and offense and we really had to try to limit their offense and scrape for whatever we could."