Sometimes it’s crazy how quickly things can change within a year. The Florida Gators started the 2020 season 16-0. Justin Alintoff was contributing to a bullpen that posted a 1.76 ERA with 12 strikeouts in five appearances.
They lose their first game of the season to Florida State on March 10 and the next day the entire spring slate has been cancelled.
“It was a real bummer,” Alintoff said.
Now Alintoff is in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League working time go from reliever to starting pitcher with the Delray Beach Lightning. This is all in preparation for his final chapter as a college pitcher, not in Florida, but in Rollins.
“I could have gone back to Florida but I’m getting an MBA at Rollins College,” Alintoff said. “I value my education greatly.”
Justin Alintoff Transition to Starter
So far the transition to starter has gone well. Alintoff is 3-0 with a 1.28 ERA and 12 strikeouts in five games and four starts. His longest start came on Thursday against the Palm Beach Xtreme where he allowed only one run on four hits in four innings.
He leads the Lightning in starts and ERA, which is a big reason why Delray Beach (13-7) is only a game behind the Palm Beach Diamond Ducks (14-6) in the North Division.
While there are instances in which Alintoff finds himself facing off an Arkansas hitter, a Georgia hitter or one of the handful of LSU hitters prowling in the league, the overall summer ball competition doesn’t make up for the erased spring slate.
“The SEC is a beast of its own,” Alintoff said. “I don’t think there really is too much to compare in those regards. They’re two different intensities. Spring ball is way more intense than summer ball.
“In terms of the players, we have a great group of guys (in the SFCBL), really talented guys and same as the SEC. But the SEC is a grind every game.”
Alintoff Leaning on His Experience
Alintoff made a total of 21 appearances out of the bullpen for Florida as a sophomore and junior. He totaled 37 strikeouts in 39 innings. He credits the rigors of the SEC for setting him up for summer success.
“There’s no rest,” Alintoff said. “The teams in the bottom of the standings can come out and whoop butt. So the SEC is an animal and it has prepared me greatly for this league.”
Alintoff was originally a starting pitcher at Indian Hill Community College. He posted a 4.11 ERA in 57.0 innings with 77 strikeouts during his freshman year.
The SFCBL season runs through July 30 followed by the playoffs. Led by Alintoff as the anchor of the staff, a league title would be a great way to complete the transformation.