Florida League kicks off 2012 summer baseball season

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Now in its ninth season, the Florida Collegiate Summer League, Central Florida’s wood bat college baseball league, once again invites a talented roster of players from all over the country, including several from Central Florida-based colleges – Rollins College, Seminole State College, Stetson University and University of Central Florida. The Florida League stands among seven other summer leagues in the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball. Last year alone, more than 20 players from the Florida League were drafted to Major League Baseball teams. Consisting of six teams – Deland Suns, Leesburg Lightning, Orlando Freedom, Orlando Monarchs, Sanford River Rats and Winter Park Diamond Dawgs – this year’s Florida League season sees a total of 45 evening games at various ballparks throughout the area. The 2012 season opener (7 p.m., Thursday, June 7 at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium) pits defending champs the Sanford River Rats against the visiting Winter Park Diamond Dawgs. (Last year, the Rats beat the Dawgs 7-5 to take the FCSL championship.) The annual all-star game on Tuesday, July 17 will feature a scout showcase and home run derby. Single game general admission tickets are just $5, and a variety of season ticket and family packages are also offered through the league’s website. For complete game schedules and ticket information, visit the Florida League’s website. Below you’ll find information on each of the Florida League’s six teams, including stadium locations and links for fans to follow on Twitter for game recaps and the latest team news.   DeLand Suns Melching Field at Conrad Park, Stetson University 555 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand @DeLandSuns   Leesburg Lightning Pat Thomas Stadium 240 Ballpark Road, Leesburg @FCSLLightning   Orlando Freedom Orel Hershiser Field at The First Academy 2667 Bruton Blvd. @Orlando_Freedom   Orlando Monarchs Tinker Field 287 S. Tampa Ave. @orlandomonarchs   Sanford River Rats Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium 1201 Mellonville Ave., Sanford @SanRiverRat   Winter Park Diamond Dawgs Alfond Stadium, Rollins College 801 Orange Ave., Winter Park @WPDiamondDawgs  

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