By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Wednesday’s game between the Charlotte Stone Crabs and Jupiter Hammerheads was cruising along before weather halted play.
The finale of the three-game Florida State League series quickly reached the seventh inning before an incredibly vivid lightning strike chased everyone off the field at Charlotte Sports Park to force a suspension. It will be resumed at the point of suspension during Charlotte’s visit to Jupiter on Aug. 14-17.
It was a 1-1 tie when the storm came through, with the Stone Crabs scoring a timely run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a single for David Olmedo-Barrera.
Jose De Leon made another rehab appearance for the Stone Crabs, but left after two innings with discomfort while pitching. De Leon labored through six outs, and came nowhere near his preseason scouting report of a fastball in the 92-94 mph range. Most of his pitches sat somewhere around 84 MPH.
The 25-year-old has been on-and-off injured for a majority of the 2017 season. He appeared in one game with the Rays, where he allowed three runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Entering Wednesday, he had made 10 appearances this season (seven starts) between the Rays, Stone Crabs, Durham Bulls and Gulf Coast League Rays.
During the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game, a young fan was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of a member of the Hammerheads.
Chase Taylor, who is the son of Port Charlotte boys golf and baseball coach Rodney Taylor, was sitting behind the Stone Crabs’ dugout at the time, and eventually was taken away by an ambulance after the incident.
The younger Taylor was flown to Miami Children’s Hospital Tuesday night, according to his father. Taylor said his son was doing better Wednesday, but expects them to remain in Miami for a few days.