On Saturday, July 9, the Florida League will direct its most talented players to Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium for All-Star festivities.
The Leesburg Lightning (12-16) have the pleasure of receiving eight All-Star selections in total.
Catcher Igor Baez, Shortstop Clay Simmons, and Pitcher Drew Peden will each be returning to Sanford for the second straight year.
Throughout the first half of the Florida League season, Peden has been one of the most shutdown relievers in the league. He sports an 0.80 ERA with a 4-0 record and three saves. With 25 strikeouts, he’s also tied for third in the category.
At shortstop, Simmons has been a key cog in the middle of the infield and enters the break with a .290 batting average, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and 12 RBI.
Three-time Lightning and Leesburg “fan favorite”, Igor Baez, will also receive his second consecutive starting selection. He has a home run and six RBI.
Joining Baez and Simmons as a starter, Harrison Scanlon comes into the break with quite possibly the hottest bat in the Florida League. Scanlon has been on an absolute tear, hitting .500 with 2 HR over his last seven games preceding tonight’s All-Star Game.
Cornell Nixon, Austin Simmons, MacLain Larson, and Dan Twitty were also selected as reserves.
Simmons (35) and Nixon (34) rank third and fourth in hits — respectively — in the league.
Nixon also has 16 stolen bases, which leads the league.
Out of the bullpen, Larson is leading the league with an 0.79 ERA and has 15 strikeouts. His submarine delivery combined with Peden’s sidearm delivery, have provided the Lightning with one of the more dominant bullpens in the league.
Twitty will also represent Leesburg in Sanford, replacing Zach McMullen.
He finishes the first half with a 3-0 record, and a 1.01 ERA with 17 strikeouts. McMullen has performed brightly for the Lightning pitching staff as well, currently holding a streak of 18.2 innings without allowing an earned run.
Leesburg, along with the DeLand Suns and Sanford River Rats, will represent the North All-Stars.
Preceding the All-Star Game, the Florida League will also show off the league’s most talented home run hitters. Baez, and Michael Koenig will each represent the Lightning.
All-Star Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the Home Run Derby, followed by the All-Star Game at 7 p.m.