SANFORD, Fla - The Leesburg Lightning held on for a thrilling 8-7 victory over the Seminole County Snappers on Monday afternoon at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium. Another bounce back win for the Lightning after losing on Saturday night.
The Bolts would break a 7-7 tie in the top of the eighth as pinch-runner Brandon Triplett (Seminole St) scored on an error by the Snappers first baseman. An unbelievable final three-inning performance from sophomore right-hander Tyler Van Dyke (Seminole St) would seal the win for Leesburg.
The first six runs would be plated by the Lightning in just the first three innings of play. An RBI single in the second from catcher Travis Stapleton (Polk St) sparked the offensive onslaught.
In the third inning alone, Leesburg would cash in for five runs on seven of the 14 total hits, catapulting the Lightning to a 6-0 lead. Gabriel Santiago (Newberry), Gabriel Esquivel (North Florida), Noah Best (Birmingham Southern), Stapleton and Quinn Petty (North Alabama) would all drive in a run in the third.
Even with eight runs on 14 hits, the Leesburg offense struck out 14 times, passing its season-high of 13. The run support was just enough to secure their ninth win of the 2022 campaign.
Seminole County showed some fight in the bottom half of the third inning as they posted four runs to make it a 6-4 game. A two-run single from infielder Andrew Fernandez (Tallahassee CC) followed by a costly Lightning error would allow two more runs to score.
Another run would be added for the Lightning in the fifth inning when Best drove an RBI triple off the left field wall. The Carrollton, Georgia native finished the night with a career-high three hits with two runs driven in.
In a tie game with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Van Dyke entered the contest for Leesburg. The first batter he faced drilled a three-run, game-tying double over the head of Marco Dinges (Tallahassee CC) in right field.
Van Dyke would not allow another hit the rest of the night and earned his first win, tossing two and a third innings of fabulous baseball, allowing just one hit and striking out two in his outing.
After a Leesburg error to put the tying run on first in the bottom of the ninth, Van Dyke induced a game-ending double play to give Leesburg the win.
The Lightning improved to 9-6 on the year and will switch opponents for a one-off game at home against the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs (11-3) on Tuesday night. Leesburg and Winter Park hold the two best records in the Florida League and will face off in a highly anticipated matchup. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Pat Thomas Stadium - Buddy Lowe Field.
Tom Cavanaugh, (Michigan State University)