Saints Baseball Opens at Home on January 29 at 12:00 pm

Saints Baseball Opens at Home on January 29 at 12:00 pm

January 27, 2011 Contact: Scott Jamison 352.395.5616



Gainesville, FL – The 2011 version of the Santa Fe Saints baseball team will take the field for the first time on Friday, January 28 when they travel to Hillsborough CC for a game at 3:00pm against the Hawks in Tampa.  SF opens the season ranked #23 in the NJCAA/Perfect Game National rankings and #4 in the FCCAA State poll.

Coach Johnny Wiggs and the Saints return four players from last year’s MFC championship team including shortstop TJ Spina, second baseman Austin Lawrence, catcher Cory Elasik and pitcher Steven Ragans.

In Spina and Lawrence, the team returns two of the top hitters from a year ago. Spina finished 2010 with a .377 batting average, seven doubles, two triples, eight homeruns, 28 RBI and 51 runs scored. Lawrence, the team’s leadoff hitter for most of the year, hit .339 with 13 doubles, two triples, four homeruns, 30 RBI and 46 runs scored. Elasik also played a key role for SF last season when he split time with Brett Bozeman at catcher and hit .250 with four doubles, four homeruns, 22 RBI and 20 runs. Starting pitcher Steven Ragans, a key member of the Saints rotation in the second half of the 2010 season, finished with a 4-0 record, a 4.88 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched.

Along with the returners, Santa Fe has bolstered their roster with NCAA and NJCAA transfers, including RHP Malcolm Clapsaddle (University of Georgia), OF Jay Laurienzo (Florida Gulf Coast), RHP Kentrail Pierce (Jacksonville University), 3B Jake Huxtable (University of Central Florida), RHP Kyle Rowe (Valdosta State), LHP Ben O’Shea (Roger Williams), OF Drew Doty and OF Zach Taylor (St. Pete College) and Jarod Carlton (St. John’s River State).

Twelve freshman round out the roster: RHP Antwan Brown, 1B/LHP Andrew Grifol, LHP Chris Lee, RHP Brendan O’Rourke, LHP Ryan Yarbrough, C Tim Remes, INF Nathan Bandy, OF Jordan Turner, OF Trey Griffin, LHP Daniel Schiller, 1B Garrett Greenwell and RHP Alec Asher.

The Saints have five players on the roster that have been previously drafted in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft: Malcolm Clapsaddle, Trey Griffin, Chris Lee, Zach Taylor and Alec Asher.

“All of our coaches and players are excited to begin the 2011 season,” said Johnny Wiggs. “We feel that we have a really good group that has a chance to compete for another conference championship. We return a few starters from last season that will be counted on, but we also brought in a good combination of high school and transfer players. We are a physical team with some good looking athletes and five players that have been previously drafted by professional baseball.”

The first home game for the Saints is Saturday, January 29 against South Georgia College in a doubleheader starting at 12:00 pm. Admission is free.

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