13 Returners Make Up An Experienced Leesburg Roster for 2024

13 Returners Make Up An Experienced Leesburg Roster for 2024

The Leesburg Lightning are just days away from the 2024 season kicking off, and the 2024 roster is set for Opening Night on Thursday.

This year's club features a team record of 13 returners, 9 of whom were members of last season's 2023 FCSL Championship-winning team. There are also two members from the team's 2021 championship title run that will return for their 3rd season: catchers Travis Stapleton and Drew Stubbs.

Leesburg is highlighted by 2023 FCSL Player of the Year Gabe Santiago, who is entering his 3rd season in Leesburg and on the verge of breaking numerous team records here in 2024. 

There is also no shortage of NCAA Division 1 talent amongst Head Coach Rich Billings roster this season, featuring 14 players from different conferences across Division 1, including two players from the Big Ten, one from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and two from the Big 12.

There is a healthy dose of the state of Florida represented on this 2024 roster, featuring a handful of FL-born players and 18 players who attend in-state programs in 2024, whether that be in the NCAA or NJCAA.


The Lightning will carry 17 pitchers on this season's roster, 7 of whom are coming back for another season in Leesburg. 

Listed officially as an outfielder, Riley Fitzgerald returns after a sensational year on the mound with Leesburg in 2023, playing as a two-way player and posting a league-leading 1.90 ERA across 11 games, 3 of which were starts.

Max Meyer comes into his first season following a bulk amount of innings pitched with Embry-Riddle in 2024, throwing 64.1 innings of work in 24 appearances and finishing with a 3.08 ERA.

The team is highlighted by 5 returning pitchers from last season's championship roster, accumulating more than 75 innings worth of action on the mound for the Lightning in 2023.


The catcher position for Leesburg also brings in a wealth of experience, with Travis Stapelton and Drew Stubbs coming back to Leesburg and newcomer Ty Denton coming on board in Leesburg.

Denton, who redshirted this past season at Troy, will be pairing up with his brother, Pitcher Brycen Denton, in what will be a fun, exciting combo to see together on the field. 

Stapelton comes back after a year away from Leesburg, returning to continue where he left off, posting a .264 batting average, 5 homers, and 28 RBIs between 2021 and 2022.

Drew Stubbs rounds out the three-man crew, coming off a season where he started 23 games for the Leesburg Lightning behind the dish.


In the infield, the Leesburg Lightning will see many new faces, with only two returning players back on the squad. However, both have been impactful to the team over the past handful of years.

Gabriel Santiago comes back after a stellar season in 2023, earning Player of the Year honors in the FCSL last season, ending the year with a .372 batting average, an .802 OPS, and 30 stolen bases, breaking Leesburg's all-time career stolen base record. Santiago already has a head start here in 2023, leading the team all-time in certain career numbers such as batting average, on-base percentage, and runs, only 7 shy of breaking the team's career record.

Logan Chapman also returns after coming off an impressive season in 2023, posting a .299 batting average in 29 games played in the regular season.

Other names of note include Collin Priest, who set the single-season Freshman HR record at the University of Michigan with 11, Ryan Jenkins, who posted .383 batting average last season with Lake-Sumter State, transferring out to Carson Newman University . for 2024–25, and James Strom, who collected 47 RBIs and 8 HRs in 2023 at Pasco-Hernando State College.


The Lightning will carry three outfielders this season, including Riley Fitzgerald, who will see time on the field and on the mound.

Michael Furry will be back following his current run with St. Johns River State College in the NJCAA D-2 College World Series, returning for a third season in Leesburg, and coming off a back-to-back season helping the team win the NJCAA D-2 Region 8 championship.

Jordy Oriach will also slide into the roster while patrolling the outfield, bringing a big power bat to the lineup after hitting 26 HRs across two seasons at Frank Phillips College in Texas and transferring to the Mountain West Conference's New Mexico Lobos for the 2024-25 season. 

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