Lions Baseball Players Utilize Summer Months to Sharpen Skills

SAINT LEO, Fla. - With a historic 2013 season in the books for the Saint Leo University baseball team, seven Lions have chosen to spend their summer months sharpening their skills and competing in various collegiate summer leagues across the country. 

Fresh out of their first season donning the green and gold, freshman standouts Taylor Perez and Michael Dunnigan packed their bags for the wood-bat Florida Collegiate Summer League to play for the College Park Freedom. Both Perez and Dunnigan have earned starting roles for the Freedom, appearing in 22 and five games, respectively. Perez, who has tallied 79 at-bats thus far, has accumulated a .266 batting average, totaling 14 runs scored, 21 hits, three doubles, and nine walks. In addition, Perez was selected to the 2013 All-Star Game to represent the South Team. Also excelling on defense is Michael Dunnigan, who has registered 20.2 innings pitched as a member of the Freedom pitching staff. In five games, the righty has tallied nine strikeouts and recorded an earned run average of 3.91.

Unlike Perez and Dunnigan who stayed in Florida, the rest of the group went north for the summer, participating in various baseball leagues located in the northeastern part of the United States.

Sophomore pitcher Brandon Mumaw and freshman infielder Alex Mata are spending their summer months in New York, playing for the Adirondack Trailblazers in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Making an immediate impact on the mound for the Trailblazers, Mumaw has made seven appearances, collecting two wins in 16 innings pitched. He has allowed just three walks, while striking out 14 batters. Behind Mumaw on defense is trusted teammate Alex Mata, who, in 16 games with the Trailblazers, has amassed a .313 batting average in 64 at-bats. In addition, Mata has collected 20 hits, 10 runs, 12 RBI, and two homeruns. In addition to Mata's success at the plate, he has accumulated a .925 fielding percentage.

Also playing in New York is sophomore outfielder Bobby Twitty. Twitty, who finished the 2013 season as an offensive and defensive leader for the Lions, is utilizing his summer vacation to play for the Niagara Power in the New York Collegiate League. In 21 games, Twitty has tallied 87 at-bats, registering 24 hits, 11 runs, five doubles, four homeruns, 15 RBI, and five walks. His .276 batting average and perfect fielding percentage earned him a spot on the league's All-Star team, Second Impact. Twitty also appeared in the All-Star game's homerun derby.

With most of his Saint Leo teammates on the east coast, freshman Brandon Hemberger took his talents to Cincinnati, Ohio to play for the Cincinnati Spikes. With Hemberger playing outfield and first base, the Spikes are currently 16-3.

Freshman Cole Stancil rounds up the group with as a starting outfielder for the Wareham Gatemen roster in Wareham, Mass. The Gatemen are the reigning 2012 champions of the Cape Cod Collegiate League, and Stancil has helped propel the team to great success. With a .226 batting average in 53 at-bats, Stancil has registered 12 hits and two walks, knocking in three RBI and scoring twice. In addition, he has recorded a .940 fielding average from his place in the outfield.

"We're really happy with the way the guys have played this summer," said head Saint Leo baseball coach Sean O'Connor. "They've all played very well and we're proud of them."

To stay up to date with the latest on the Lions' baseball team, stay current with SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.