River Rats hot start not enough in loss to Suns
Date: Jun 18, 2019
On a soggy Tuesday night in Sanford, the River Rats erased a three-run deficit and came from behind to defeat the Winter Garden Squeeze 8-3 under the lights at Memorial Stadium.
Winter Garden jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the Rats’ offense clicked and exploded for eight runs on just seven hits. The Rats have now rattled off five wins in their last six contests and sit at 5-4 on the year. The Squeeze dropped to 1-7.
On the mound, three Sanford arms combined for the effort. Montgomery Smith (Texas A&M) made his first appearance in a River Rat uniform and earned the win, tossing three no-hit innings.
Offensively, it was a productive day for the four and five slots in the Sanford lineup. Miles Simington (Heartland) and Andrew Labosky (Nova Southeastern) accounted for 71 percent of the Rats’ hits on the evening. Simington turned in another impressive day at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run. Labosky got things going at the dish, finishing 2-for-2, reaching safely in all four plate appearances, and scoring three runs.
“The ball was a watermelon today,” Labosky said. “I was seeing a lot of strikes and it was just easier to hit things.”
After the first three innings of the game, Winter Garden led 3-0. Then, the Rats clicked into gear.
Labosky ripped a one-out single to start a rally in the fourth. Simington, the next batter, then tattooed a ball out of the park to right-center field. It was a two-run home run, his first of the summer, and cut the lead to one, 3-2.
“We’re just playing really good ball as a team,” Labosky said. “We’ve come together and we’re super close as a group and it’s showing.”
Later in the half-inning, Cole Warken (Undecided) and Jackson Muldowney (Indian River State College) drew back-to-back walks. The next batter, Garret Sheffield (Santa Fe), smoked a two-RBI double down the alley in left-center field, putting the Rats on top 4-3.
Sanford added to its lead with another pair of runs in the fifth inning. With one out, Bubba Sangster (St. Johns River) launched a towering solo home run to left field. It was his league-high fourth long ball of the season and boosted the team tally to a league-high nine home runs.
Then, Labosky walked and advanced over to third a few pitches later after a single from Simington. The duo executed a double steal and Labosky came home to give the Rats a 6-3 advantage.
The Rats scored again in the seventh on the same exact play. Labosky was hit by a pitch and moved over to third on a Simington single. Another double steal brought home the seventh run to make it a 7-3 lead. Labosky and Simington finished with three and two stolen bases, respectively.
The final run of the game came in the eighth when Muldowney walked, advanced to second on a passed ball, and then consecutively stole third and home. Sanford’s five run, 8-3, cushion proved to be enough to seal the victory.
The two teams are back in action Wednesday at West Orange High School in Winter Garden for a doubleheader. First pitch of the 14-inning day is slated for 3:30 p.m. at Heller Bros Ballpark.
Myan Patel (Georgia)