NJCAA #9 Santa Fe Baseball Opens Season on January 28 at South Georgia College

January 26, 2012 Contact: Scott Jamison 352.395.5616 scott.jamison@sfcollege.edu

SF BASEBALL

NJCAA #9 SAINTS READY TO OPEN SEASON SATURDAY AT SOUTH GEORGIA COLLEGE

Gainesville, FL – Coach Johnny Wiggs and the Santa Fe Saints are winding down preseason practices and are nearing the start of the regular season scheduled to get underway on the road Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29 at South Georgia College. The three game series was pushed back a day due to inclement weather expected on Friday. Saturday’s game will start at 4:00 PM and Sunday’s doubleheader will begin at 1:00 PM.

“Our players and coaches are very excited for another season to get under way,” said Wiggs. “They’ve worked really hard since August and I know they are looking forward to facing a talented South Georgia team this weekend.”

The game will feature two national powerhouses as the Saints enter the season #9 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll and #2 in the state by the Florida College System Activities Association. South Georgia won their region in 2011 and made the trip to Grand Junction, CO to participate in the JuCo World Series.

Santa Fe returns just five players from last year’s Mid-Florida Conference championship team, but an influx of talented freshman and college transfers should keep the Saints competitive once again. SF’s won the previous three MFC titles and won the 2009 State Championship, earning a spot in the JuCo World Series where they finished as runners-up.

Sophomore right fielder Trey Griffin (.323 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI in 2011) and center fielder Drew Doty (.389 BA, 6 HR, 17 2B, 46 RBI) return to anchor the outfield and welcome ultra-talented freshman left fielder Mallex Smith (Tallahassee Rickards) to the mix, forming one of the most talented starting groups in the nation. Smith was a 13th round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2011 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Left hander Ryan Yarbrough is the Saints lone returnee on the mound and will be counted on to lead a pack of incoming players that are not short on college experience. Expected front end of the rotation pitcher Brad Markey played last year for Georgia Tech University, Lawrence Pardo pitched for Appalachian State University and Felix Roque pitched for North Carolina State University.

The other transfer pitchers include: RHP Ryan Caporice (UNC-Ashville) and LHP Trevor Berry (University of Central Florida). JT Simpson (Hernando) and Dylan Barrow (Durant) join SF from the high school ranks. Josh Larson, a redshirt freshman from a year ago rounds out the staff.

“I really like the depth we have with our pitching staff this year,” said Wiggs. “There are a lot of new faces, but also a lot of experience at the NCAA level. Simpson, Markey, Yarbrough and Pardo will see a lot of starts and Roque will be our closer. The other guys give us a great middle and back end of our bullpen.”

All conference performers Tim Remes (.289 BA, 4 HR 26 RBI), Garrett Greenwell (.323, 2 HR, 16 RBI), Trey Griffin and Drew Doty lead a talented offense into the 2012 season.

Catcher Blake Berger (University of Tennessee), SS Jacob Tillotson (University of Florida) outfielder Kyle Buchanan (Webber International), 2B Shane Kennedy (University of North Florida), OF Ryan Rodriguez (College of Central Florida), 3B Caleb Denmark (University of North Florida), and 3B Graham Ramos (University of Tampa) are the six transfer position players.

Talented high school catcher AJ Mazzurco (Ocala Forest) and skilled local products, 1B Graham Cason (Buchholz) and INF Josh Stewart (PK Yonge) round out the Saints roster.

“I really like the athleticism of our position players,” said Wiggs. “We should be able to run more on the bases and be a plus defensive club. Drew Doty and Trey Griffin return from a year ago and should hold down the middle of the order for us.”

The first home game of the season for Santa Fe will take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 3:00 PM against Polk State College.

Projected starters: C – Remes/Berger 1B – Greenwell/Pardo 2B – Kennedy 3B – Ramos/Denmark SS – Tillotson LF – M. Smith CF – Doty RF – Griffin

For complete schedules and more information on Saints Baseball, please visit www.sfcollege.edu/athletics. To see game photos and other updates, follow Santa Fe College Athletics on Facebook.

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