Aranas and Bolt Help Lead Leesburg to FCSL Championship
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The University of South Carolina Aiken had two baseball players that were part of a summer collegiate baseball team that just recently claimed a league championship.
The Leesburg Lightning toppled the defending Florida Collegiate Summer League champion Clermont Mavericks, 5-1, to capture their second league championship at Tropicana Field, which is the home of defending American League champions Tampa Bay.
USC Aiken's Nick Aranas (Lexington, S.C./Lexington) and Jonathan Bolt (Anderson, S.C./TL Hanna) were both members of the Leesburg Lightning Championship squad. Fellow Pacer Travis Howard (Bonneau, S.C./USC Salkehatchie) played for the Lightning during the first part of the year before returning to the area to take classes during the latter part of the summer.
The Lightning, who were helmed by former Cy Young winner Frank Viola, had an impressive run in the postseason, giving up just two runs in three games. They continued the trend of scoring runs with two out by collecting three in the decisive seventh inning. The two Pacers on the team played a pivotal role in the championship game.
Aranas singled and stole second in the seventh before heading home to score the second of the Lightning's decisive four runs in the frame.
Bolt, in the final game of his baseball career, relieved Robert Lake in the ninth to pitch the final out of the game, striking out Evan Stermer.
Aranas concluded his time with the Lightning batting .271. He started all 34 games for Leesburg, scoring a team-best 24 runs.
Bolt was 2-2 during the summer, owning a 3.13 ERA. His opposition hit just .226 against him.
**The Daily Commercial contributed to this report**
-- Pictured is Aranas with the FCSL Championship Trophy