Saints Defeat Chipola 5-3 to Win First State Title Since 1985

Saints Defeat Chipola 5-3 to Win First State Title Since 1985

Mee was named the tournaments MVP

Winter Haven, FL – With two outs and two strikes on the Chipola batter in the ninth, Saints closer Andy Mee stared in at home plate and delivered the final pitch of the 2009 FCCAA State/ NJCAA Gulf District Championship, a changeup that fooled the Indians batter and sent the Santa Fe Saints players into a dog pile at the pitcher’s mound.

“I’m so proud of the way our guys fought all week,” said Coach Johnny Wiggs. “They played hard every game and really deserve this. We are going to take a few days to enjoy this and then we’ll get back to work.”

The win was not an easy one, as SFC (32-20) had to come back from a three run deficit late in the game. Ryan Mathews hit a key two run homerun to get the Saints on the board in the sixth inning and then had the go ahead RBI in the eighth on a sacrifice fly.

After a 13 hour rain delay that lasted through the night, play resumed this morning at 11:00am with the Saints down 1-0 and without a hit through three innings.

Gary Merians took the hill for SFC and turned in three solid innings, giving up only two unearned runs in the fourth. The Saints bullpen was the real difference in the game as Daryl Barnes, Daley Cox and Andy Mee (3-4) combined for three shutout innings.

Down 3-0, Mathews came through in the sixth with a two out, two run homer, scoring Andy Mee from first to cut the lead to 3-2.

After a scoreless top of the eighth for the two time defending State Champion Chipola Indians, SFC would take advantage of a tired CC pitching staff and score three runs to take the lead.

Yeckring came through with a big insurance run in the eighth.

Keon Broxton legged out a grounder for the first Santa Fe base runner and advanced to second on a throwing error. The next batter, Andy Mee, singled to right to plate the tying run. After a sacrifice fly by Brett Bozeman and a walk to Trace Venegas, Ryan Mathews hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Andy Mee for the leading run.

Travis Yeckring singled with two outs to score Venegas for an insurance run.

Andy Mee came back out in the ninth for his second inning of work and struck out two of three Indian batters to secure the win. The win was the second over Chipola in the tournament for SFC and their fourth win overall.

Ryan Mathews finished the game 1-for-3 with a homerun and three RBI, Andy Mee was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Yeckring, Venegas and Godshall each had a hit.

For his efforts during the week, Andy Mee was named the tournament’s “Most Outstanding Player”, and was named to the All-Tournament team as a pitcher and designated hitter. Ryan Mathews and Keon Broxton were named to the All-Tournament Team as outfielders, Trace Venegas was named as an infielder and Brett Bozeman as a catcher.

Coach Johnny Wiggs was also honored after the game as the FCCAA State Coach of the Year for the first time in his career.

The Saints will travel to Grand Junction, Colorado on May 23-30 for the NJCAA World Series, where the ten best teams in the country will compete to become the 2009 National Champions. The Saints last went to Grand Junction under former Head Coach and current assistant Harry Tholen in 1985.

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