SANFORD, FL.- The Florida Collegiate Summer League announced its 2021 All-Florida League Teams on August 14th. Four members of the Leesburg Lightning were named to the first team, and five members of the Lightning earned second team honors.
CATCHER: Clay Stearns (Troy): Stearns had a terrific regular season, finishing second on the team with a .312 average and leading his team in on-base percentage (.449), slugging (.468), OPS (.917), doubles (7) and runs batted in (16). Stearns then exploded in the postseason, hitting .500 in 16 at-bats, including a pair of home runs and four runs batted in. Stearns registered three straight multi-hit games in the postseason, including a homer run in games two and three of the championship series, which earned him MVP honors.
OUTFIELD: Brett Kelly (UNC Greensboro): Kelly led the team and finished third in the FCSL in batting average in the regular season with a .338 mark. The all-star was a huge part of the Lightning’s offense surge in July, hitting .357 in the month. On an eight-game hitting streak in the month, Kelly registered two three-hit games in a three game span.
RELIEF PITCHER: Zach Henderson (Valdosta State): Henderson was lights out all season, which led to him being named the 2021 FCSL Reliever of the Year. “Hendo” did not allow an earned run in 11.1 regular season innings, while leading the league in saves (4) and only allowing five hits. Henderson was also fantastic in the postseason, as he struck out six of the eleven batters he faced. Opponents hit just .091 against him, with just one out of the eleven batters reaching base. Henderson earned the save against DeLand to send the Lightning to the championship series, stifled the Diamond Dawgs in game two of the finals to keep the Lightning season alive, and, just to put a cherry on top, recorded the final out of championship series to give the Bolts their first championship since 2009.
RELIEF PITCHER: Gerry Kelly: Kelly put up an absurd 2021 season, which earned him the Cy Young Award, just the first time since 2017 a reliever won the award in the FCSL. He was a force to be reckoned with in the regular season, amassing a 2-0 record over 19 innings across 11 appearances. Out of the 55 batters he faced, only 19 reached base. He also struck out 32, which translates to nearly 15 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Kelly led all relievers in strikeouts and was fifth in the league (32), was the only pitcher with a sub-one earned run average (0.93), was the only pitcher with a sub .100 opponent batting average (.078), and was the only pitcher with a WHIP under .50 (0.47). At one point in the season, Kelly went ten consecutive innings without allowing a baserunner, which stretched over a calendar month.
OF: Cam Hill (Georgia College & State): Cam Hill was a major contributor to the Lightning all the season, both at the plate and in the field. During the regular season, Hill finished third on the team with a .407 on-base percentage while leading the team in runs scored (23) and walks draws (21). Hill ended the season on a 20-game on-base streak. He was a menace on the base paths as well, finishing second on the team with a perfect 13-for-13 clip while stealing bases Defensively, Hill frequently made outstanding plays in centerfield, including robbing a pair of homeruns. In the playoffs, he hit .500, including scoring seven runs in five games.
UTIL: Robbie Scott (UNF): Maybe no one’s bat was as important as Scott’s in the second half of the season. After hitting .211 entering July’s first series, Scott put up a torrid stretch in which he slashed .455/.510/.773/1.283 over a 14 game stretch, finishing the season with a .299 batting average. He continued to torture opposing pitchers in the playoffs, hitting .500 with 11 runs batted in over the five-game postseason. He also blasted two postseason home runs, one of which came against the Diamond Dawgs in the championship series clincher.
SP: Dominick Madonna (UNF): Madonna was one of the best, if not the best, starting pitchers for the Lightning all season. Madonna finished with a solid 3.15 ERA, while only allowing an opposing batting average of .205. Up to his final start of the regular season, he had a sub-two ERA and, for the majority of the season, led all Leesburg starters in ERA, opponent AVG and WHIP.
RP: Jacob Bradshaw (North Alabama): Bradshaw provided a huge boost to the Lightning pitching staff over the back-half of the season. Over seven appearances, in which he started a pair, he posted a sparkling 1.22 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, both of which led all Leesburg starters. Bradshaw’s best two games came in his last two appearances of the regular season, when he faced the minimum through three and two-thirds of an inning against Seminole County on July 16, and then on a July 22nd game against DeLand, when he went six innings and only allowed one unearned run.
RP: Connor Gleeson (Gardner-Webb): Gleeson was fantastic in a setup role in the regular season. In 14 innings pitched across 11 appearances, he allowed only two runs while striking out 14. The second-year Lightning member, who also won 2nd-team honors last season, finished with a stellar 1.28 ERA, .182 opponent batting average and .86 WHIP.
You can view the complete first and second All-Florida League teams here: http://www.floridaleague.com/view/fcsl/news/news_537198
Matias Weilmann (Ithaca College)