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Florida Collegiate Summer League 2014: Leesburg goes International

This year marks a milestone for the Florida Collegiate Summer League (FSCL). They gained international recognition by receiving an invitation from Korean University Baseball Federation (KUBF) for a meet and greet tournament. So, its one more week of baseball in a (5) game series with the Korean College All Stars, some of the top amateur athletes in South Korea.

Pat Thomas Stadium/Buddy Lowe Field, in Leesburg, is the first lighted baseball stadium in Florida. Korean University (KUBF) beat Leesburg Lightning (FCSL) 3-1 on Friday August 8, 2014.
Photo by Miguel A. Sanchez
Pat Thomas Stadium/Buddy Lowe Field, in Leesburg, was once called "The Ballpark at Venetian Gardens." It is the first lighted baseball stadium in Florida.
Photo by Miguel A. Sanchez

Sanford hosted the Aug. 5 & Aug. 9 games at "Sanford Memorial Stadium." Deland hosted the Aug. 6 game at "Conrad Park.". And, Leesburg would host the Aug. 8 & Aug. 10 at "Pat Thomas Stadium/Buddy Lowe Field." Busy Schedule. That just left Thursday for the young athletes to enjoy the tourist attractions. Other selected FCSL players were also invited to join one of the host teams.

I went to the Aug. 8 game on Friday night in Leesburg. By the time the lights were turned on, it was a cool 86 degrees, a perfect night for a ball game, in a historic ball park. Pat Thomas Stadium/Buddy Lowe Field, once called "The Ball Park at Venetian Gardens," is the first lighted stadium in Florida. "Baseball America" feature this field in their "2012 Great Ball Parks" calendar.

Late in the game, it was clear that the Korean College All Stars came to play. Strong pitching and discipline on offense proved effective. Korean University (KUBF). beat Leesburg Lightning (FSCL) 3-1.

The 2014 season came to an end Aug. 3 with the "Winter Park Diamond Dawgs" becoming the first back to back champions when they defeated the "Sanford River Rats" 6-4 at Tropicana Field. FCSL is a wood bat league with six teams; (1 ) Winter Park Diamond Dawgs, (2) Sanford River Rats, (3) Leesburg Lightning, (4) Winter Garden Squeeze, (5) Deland Suns, & (6) College Park Freedom. They finished in that order.

Since 2003, FSCL gives selected college players a chance to compete at a top level, to get scouting exposure, and to help get ready for a possible career as a professional. Well over 200 players have been drafted by Major League Baseball.

Orlando Sentinel reported that Leesburg City Commissioner Elise Dennison was thrilled about the exposure the games will provide. FCSL President Rob Sitz made a statement. "We are excited to host the Korean National Collegiate Team this week, said President Rob Sitz. He followed up by saying "Its the first time that we've had an international team come over to play us. It's something we're very excited to do."

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