Winter Park Dawgs, Sanford Rats fall in semifinals

Isaac Babcock

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Two shocking finishes led to one odd finish to the Florida Collegiate Summer League season, with the Sanford River Rats and Winter Park Diamond Dawgs both falling just short of a shot at the championship.

The River Rats had trouble all season putting together a solid record, but in the final week, they came alive, winning two of three playoff games en route to a finale against league leader Leesburg. Monday’s game was looking to be a pitchers’ duel until midway through the fourth, small ball turned into the first run of the game for Leesburg.

After that they ran away with it to end the game 5-1 and end the Rats’ season in one night.

For Winter Park on Tuesday, a sure win fell apart after seemingly dominating the DeLand Suns through seven innings, leaving runners stranded in repeated bases-loaded situations. With a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, the Dawgs seemingly had things sewn up.

Two wild innings later, the score was 8-7 and the Dawgs’ season was over, courtesy of a series of rallies by both teams that culminated in the most important runs of the game being scored on bases-loaded walks.

Thursday night at press time the Suns met the Lightning in the championship at Tropicana Field. Visit for updates.