By, Zack Smolen
Leesburg, FL – The stage was set for a tight contest as the Leesburg Storm (9-10-2) and Seminole County Snappers (10-10-1) entered Thursday morning’s matchup just a half-game apart in the standings. Thanks to some explosive offense, Seminole County overtook the Storm 7-4 at Pat Thomas Stadium, to jump into fourth place with two games remaining. The four seed in the playoffs will have a home game Monday, so the battle for that spot will be a blast to watch down the stretch, with the two teams still within a half-game of one another.
Robert Post (Embry-Riddle) was the star of the show for the Snappers, going three for five at the plate, including a double and four RBI. His extra-base hit in the top of the third inning gave his team an early 1-0 lead, and from there on, he didn’t look back, terrorizing Leesburg’s pitching all game long. “I was just seeing the ball well,” said Post, “I was sitting on fastballs…finding good barrels and putting good swings on balls.”
The pitching for the Snappers was excellent, with Jack Anderson (Florida St.) putting together his best outing of the season with five innings of one-run baseball, highlighted by eight strikeouts. After a rough couple of innings of middle relief, Dalton Ross (Bryan) came on and nailed down a five-out save, surrendering just one hit and striking out three.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Storm began to mount a comeback effort, sparked by a one-out double by Dawson Posick (Southern Wesleyan). Spencer Rich (Daytona St.) followed that up with an RBI base hit before Nick Collins (Polk St.) brought him home with a run-scoring single of his own. Unfortunately for Leesburg, 4-3 was as close as they would get, as the Snappers would answer back with three runs of their own in the top of the ninth.
This was a big win for the Snappers, as they head into their final two games of the regular season in control of having home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Seminole County can now even potentially challenge the Winter Garden Squeeze (12-8) for the three seed depending on Winter Garden’s outcome Thursday night against the Leesburg Lightning (15-5). The Snappers will play the Squeeze on Friday at 11am. “We’ve got a chance to move up,” said Snappers manager Mike McDaniel looking ahead to his team’s next game, “I’m not sure we really worry too much about that [though], we just want to go out and play good baseball.”
Leesburg will try and improve their playoff positioning as well Friday morning at 11am against the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs (10-10) at Conrad Park.