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FSL Player of the Week Davidson leads Fire Frogs to wins

Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 4:18 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

By definition, a Fire Frog should be hot.

Florida first baseman Braxton Davidson has taken it to heart this month.

After struggling offensively through the first two months of the season, the lefty hitter has taken a liking to June. He was hitting .394 in the first 10 games of the month after cracking three home runs, a double, six runs scored and seven RBIs during a three-game series last weekend against the Jupiter Hammerheads.

The effort earned the Ashville, N.C. native Florida State League Player of the Week honors for June 4-10, the first Fire Frog to get that nod this season. Third baseman Austin Riley and pitcher Enderson Franco snagged it during the 2017 season.


The 21-year-old hit .400 over seven games against the Bradenton Marauders and Jupiter Hammerheads. Six of the first baseman’s 10 hits went for extra bases, including four home runs.

Two of those home runs came in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader, a 9-3 win over Jupiter. The first was a three-run shot to right-center that helped Florida to an early 4-0 lead; the second was a fourth-inning blast over the scoreboard in right that nearly reached Bill Beck Boulevard.

Despite a seven-inning, four-hit pitching effort from Jeremy Walker, the Fire Frogs lost the nightcap 2-1, but Davidson drove in the run with an RBI double off the wall in straightaway center.

All that happened with former NFL running back and Orlando native Chris Johnson, who rushed for 2,006 yards and broke Marshall Faulk’s single-season total scrimmage yards mark in 2009, in the building, signing autographs and meeting with fans.

Davidson continued to swing a hot stick on Sunday, bashing his third home run of the series with a first-inning blast and scoring three times in the 7-5 victory over the Hammerheads (37-25) that gave the Fire Frogs (26-33) the series win.

The hot weekend helped push Davidson’s season batting average up 25 points to .172. He homered again Tuesday afternoon, his two-run shot helped key Florida’s 6-0 win over Bradenton in the first game of a doubleheader.

“It’s good to see Braxton fire it up this weekend and hopefully turn a corner,” Florida Manager Luis Salazar said.

Weather permitting, the Class A Atlanta Braves affiliate will close its seven-game homestand tonight at 6:31 p.m. against the Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh Pirates) before the All-Star break. The team is holding a charity poker tournament during the game, and all participants are entered in a drawing to win a suite and free tickets to a future Fire Frogs game. (Contact Enrique Guerra at for more information)

Three Fire Frogs — catcher Brett Cumberland, who was 3-for-10 in the Jupiter series, center fielder Christian Pache and relief pitcher Chad Sobotka —will head to the FSL All-Star Game on Saturday at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa while the rest of the roster will get a three-day break before starting a seven-game road trip to St. Lucie and Lakeland.

The Fire Frogs return home on June 26 to kick off a six-game home stand against the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Davidson (eight) and Cumberland (six) led the team in home runs entering a doubleheader Tuesday against Bradenton made necessary after a Monday rainout. Alejandro Salazar (.297) and Garrison Schwartz (.295) had the top batting averages, and Pache, from the leadoff spot, leads in runs (29), hits (62), doubles (12) triples (4) and total bases (91) through 59 games. Shortstop Ray-Patrick Didder, is 14-for-14 in stolen base attempts.

The leading pitcher has been Ian Anderson (1-3, 3.53 ERA), who is among the FSL leaders in strikeouts with 60 in 51 innings.