The Florida State League (almost) wrapped up their first half on the weekend with their annual All-Star game and a couple of tight division races.
In the North Division, the Dunedin Blue Jays sealed their first-half championship on Thursday with a double-header sweep of the fifth-place Daytona Cubs. The Toronto Blue Jays’ High-A farm club got outstanding pitching performances from FSL All-Stars Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd as well as a huge day from Toronto-born outfielder Marcus Knecht who was the Florida State League Player of the Week ending June 1.
In Game One of the double-header, Boyd, who has a 0.55 ERA in 48 2/3 innings in the FSL, threw the complete game, going all seven innings and allowing just one run on a solo blast by Wes Darvill in the sixth inning. On the whole, Boyd only allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three.
To fuel the offense, K.C. Hobson, FSL Player of the Week ending June 8, went deep with his seventh blast of the year and Knecht his his first of two in the double-header, adding a double and driving in three runs. All-Star Dwight Smith, Jr. went 2/4 as well in the 5-1 game.
In Game 2, Daniel Norris went five one-hit, shutout innings, walking two and striking out three to pick up his sixth win and drop his ERA to 1.22 as well as earn himself a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire. Driving the offense to a 5-2 win, Knecht hit a two-run blast (and added a sac fly) and Mississauga-born (a Toronto suburb), Dalton Pompey, yet another FSL All-Star, went 2/3 and stole two bases to give him a league-leading 24 on the season.
In the South Division, things aren’t as clear. The Fort Myers Miracle have a 38-28 record and lead the division by a half a game but still have a magic number of four over the St. Lucie Mets who have one more loss. They’ll keep going for another few games before they can decide who is the winner of the division as the teams approach the 70-game mark. Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games but St. Lucie has gone on a bit of a run, winning their least three.
The Florida State League All-Star Game was held in Bradenton on Saturday with the North Division rallying for four runs in the top of the ninth to pull out a win. Adam Brett Walker of the Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) ended up taking Home Run Derby and had a double and a home run in the game, going 3/5.
For the South All-Stars, their 14 combined hits weren’t enough but Patrick Leonard (Charlotte, 3/5), Breyvic Valera (Palm Beach, 2/5), and T.J. Rivera (St. Lucie, 2/5) had multi-hit games. To score the four runs in the ninth, the North All-Starts put together hits by Dante Bichette Jr., Austin Green, Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya.
No pitcher threw more than an inning but Jake Thompson (Lakeland) of the North Divison was the only pitcher to strike out the side. Starting pitchers were Taylor Cole (Dunedin) and Jose Berrios (Fort Myers).