Justin Stewart turned in a solid summer on the mound for the Leesburg Lightning, a team in the Florida Collegiate Summer League — a showcase and development league for college baseball players.
Stewart, a Bartow High School graduate, made eight appearances, three of which were starts and went 1-1 with a 3.85 earned run average over 16-and-one-third innings pitched.
Stewart is heading into his redshirt sophomore season at Pasco-Hernando State College.
Who’s your favorite player?
What is your favorite team?
Tampa Bay Rays.
How did you get into baseball?
Started playing when I was 4 years old and never stopped.
What has been your favorite memory/moment from playing baseball?
My favorite memory from baseball would be hitting the go-ahead home run against Lakeland High School and winning the game.
If you could be at one sports moment, what moment would that be?
I would want to watch Conor McGregor make his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather in person.
What are your thoughts on baseball's unwritten rules?
I think baseball’s unwritten rules are very important and should never be broken. For example, do not talk to the pitcher whenever he has a no-hitter going. Another one is do not step on the foul line on game day. Very important.
What was it like playing for the Leesburg Lightning?
I loved playing with the Leesburg Lightning. I had a great time bonding with all of the guys on the team and made some great friends. We had a very talented team and a great pitching staff. I also really liked the way that Coach (Rich) Billings handled the team. I think he was an awesome coach.
What was it like playing baseball in the middle of a pandemic?
It was a little different wearing masks in the clubhouse and in the dugout and getting our temperature checked before games, but it wasn’t too bad.
What are some of the most valuable experiences you’ve learned from playing in summer leagues?
Take it as it’s an actual season — do your best. Work on things such as your own development on the field and make new friends.
What’s your preference between starting or pitching from the bullpen?
I would rather start than come out of the bullpen because I like to be able to control the majority of the game.
What’s your major?
What are some of your goals for this upcoming season?
Some of my goals for this upcoming season is to get stronger, more flexible, gain more velocity and win a national championship!