Season complete, Moreland homers at ‘The Trop’

After playing at least part of two summer seasons in the Valley Baseball League with the Winchester Royals, Brett Moreland stayed close to his college in Florida and joined the Leesburg Lightning of the Florida Summer Collegiate League for this past summer’s baseball.

Moreland, a 2009 graduate of Jefferson High, played for two seasons at Frederick (Md.) Community College where he hit well and learned about playing the outfield after being an all-state catcher at Jefferson.

Upon completing his associate’s degree at Frederick, Moreland went to Flager College in St. Augustine, Florida. Flager is an NCAA Division II school that plays in the nationally competitive Peach Belt Conference.

Brett Moreland was named the Leesburg Lightning’s Most Valuable Player.

Before Moreland went to Flager, the Saints were not enjoying winning seasons and were mostly chasing their tails in the conference.

Moreland didn’t have to experience that same losing theme. The Saints finished well over .500 this past spring and were able to actually be near first place in their division for the first 15 games of the Peach Belt schedule.

When his first season at Flagler was complete, Moreland still had another summer of collegiate, wood bat baseball if he wanted it.

There was the six-team Florida Summer Collegiate League in the central part of the state if he wanted to play near his adopted home.

Moreland took his college coach’s advice and joined the Leesburg entry in the league.

A 40-game schedule began in early June with games played about four times a week. In a season-long pennant race with Deland and Winter Park, Leesburg finally edged ahead of the Suns and Diamond Dawgs in the last week’s final games.

The Lightning won the regular season title.

Moreland started every game in left field, and he led the team in hits, triples, and RBIs while finishing second on the team in runs scored, total bases, and walks.

He completed the summer going 52-for-171 at the plate for a nifty .304 batting average.

During the mid-season break for the league’s All-Star game, Moreland had played left field for one of the teams.

Leesburg entered the league’s playoffs as the No. 1-seeded team. After getting through the first round of playoff games, the Lightning saw Deland in the finals.

The Leesburg vs. Deland series went to a final game inside Tropicana Field, home of the American League Tampa Bay Rays.

In the playoff series finale, Moreland clubbed a home run in “The Trop”, but Deland was the game’s winner and celebrated as the league’s playoff champion.

When the league handed out its awards to reward those individuals whose seasons were worthy of public notice, Moreland had his name called.

He was named Leesburg’s Most Valuable Player as players from North Carolina State, Tampa, Florida Atlantic, and Bethune-Cookman took other honors.

The 2013 Flagler season in the Peach Belt Conference will be Moreland’s last year as a collegiate player.

He will have been to the junior college national playoffs at Frederick . . . played two summers in Winchester . . . two years for Flagler . . . and the summer of 2012 for the Leesburg Lightning.

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