A team of Korea’s top college baseball players will visit Leesburg twice this weekend for part of a special series of games with select members of the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
The first game will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at historic Pat Thomas Stadium, 240 Ball Park Road in Leesburg. Congressman Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, will throw out the first pitch.
The Korean War and Korean Service Veterans Association of Lake County, Chapter 169, will display flags for Korea and the United States as well as present chapter pins to each team. Kyoung Park will sing national anthems for both countries.
The two teams will return to Leesburg for another baseball game at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at Pat Thomas Stadium.
“We are extremely excited to host the Korean National Collegiate Team,” said Rob Sitz, president of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. “This is a truly unique opportunity which will bring the Florida League international exposure for our communities, players, and beyond. Seeing the game of baseball bring these two organizations together is very exciting for us, and we look forward to the experience.”
Leesburg City Commissioner Elise Dennison said the baseball games provide an exciting opportunity for Leesburg. “This can really highlight what Leesburg has to offer not only as a city but also as a sports location,” Dennison explained. “It is another positive step in raising the image of Leesburg.”
Leesburg Mayor John Christian agreed: “Anytime you can bring international attention to Leesburg, it is a great opportunity. We are very excited to host the Korean baseball team.”
The Korean team includes some of the best amateur baseball players in Asia. The Florida Collegiate Summer League has assembled a roster that includes top league players from colleges and schools in several states.
The two teams will play a series of five games across Central Florida and at Leesburg’s historic Pat Thomas Stadium. Sanford will host two games at Sanford Memorial Stadium on Aug. 5 and 9. Conrad Park in Deland will have a game on Aug. 6.
The Florida Collegiate Summer League is a wood-bat baseball league with six teams including the Leesburg Lightning, Deland Suns, College Park Freedom, Sanford River Rats, Winter Garden Squeeze and Winter Park Diamond Dogs.
Players are selected from around the country to play for each team. The Leesburg Lightning – coached for the fourth season by David Therneau – averages the highest home-game attendance in the league with hundreds of devoted fans.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 21,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday. For more information, visit www.leesburgflorida.gov.