SANFORD, Fla - The Leesburg Lightning fall to the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs, 6-1, in game one of the championship series on Friday night at Sanford Memorial Stadium. Leesburg will need to win game two to force a game three and keep its championship hopes alive.
The Lightning would never recover from an early 3-0 deficit in the first inning as Winter Park shortstop Dale Thomas (Florida) belted a two-run homer to left center field followed by a sacrifice-fly from extra-hitter Brayden Calise (Louisville) off Leesburg starting pitcher Layton Perry (Jacksonville).
Perry responded with four scoreless innings, finishing his final outing of the summer with three runs on five hits in five frames. He would be given the loss to drop his record to 3-2.
The only run that Leesburg would score came in the top of the third when first baseman Noah Best (Birmingham Southern) poked an RBI single into left field that scored center fielder Austin Brinling (North Florida).
The Diamond Dawgs added a run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to extend their lead and held the Lightning to just two hits in the final five innings.
Winter Park starting pitcher Gavin Galy (Nicholls St) threw a gem, tossing six innings allowing just two hits and one run with seven strikeouts. Galy earned the win and gave the Dawgs their best chance at victory.
Leesburg will look to force a deciding game three with a victory at Pat Thomas Stadium-Buddy Lowe Field in game two on Saturday night against Winter Park. First pitch is set for 7:00 pm ET.
Last year, in the 2021 FCSL Championship Series, Leesburg lost game one to the Diamond Dawgs and rallied to win games two and three, hoisting its third Whiting Cup trophy. The Bolts are determined to repeat history and win their fourth title.
Tom Cavanaugh, (Michigan State University)