Timely hitting and strong pitching, always a great combination, helped the Sanford River Rats claim their second consecutive regular season title in the Florida Collegiate Summer League.

The Rats closed the regular season with an impressive 12-5 win streak after the All-Star break that saw the Rats win 8 of their last 10 games.

Sanford (26-13-1) will look to ride that hot streak into the playoffs and hopefully the championship game on Sunday, Aug. 9 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Major League’s Tampa Bay Rays.

The River Rats won’t know their opponent for the 3-game playoff series until after tonight’s Winter Park v. DeLand game. Sanford went 6-2 against Winter Park during the regular season, and 6-1 versus DeLand.

The Rats boast a strong combo of balanced hitting and a strong pitching staff. Santiago Espinal (Seminole State) is the league leader in hits, runs, doubles, and stolen bases.  As a team, the Rats led the league in total bases, doubles and home runs. On the mound, their pitching staff allowed the second fewest runs in the league.

Playoff schedule

Tuesday, August 5

Winter Park Diamond Dawgs at DeLand Suns

Conrad Park – DeLand – 7 pm

Wednesday, August 5

#3 Leesburg Lightning at #2 Altamonte Springs Boom

Lake Brantley High School  –  Altamonte Springs – 7 pm

#4 DEL/#5 WP at #1 Sanford River Rats

Sanford Memorial Stadium – Sanford – 7 pm

Thursday, August 6

Altamonte at Leesburg – 7 pm

Sanford at WP/DEL – 7 pm

Friday, August 7 (If Necessary)

Leesburg at Altamonte – 7 pm

WP/DEL at Sanford – 7 pm

Sunday, August 9

Championship Game

Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg,

Game begins roughly 90 minutes after Mets/Rays game

Admission is free for the Florida League Championship game at Tropicana Field.

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