Gainesville, FL – Coach Chris Ahern and the 2013 Santa Fe Saints open their season on Saturday, January 26 with four games at the JUCO Kickoff Classic in Clearwater. The home opener for the Saints is Saturday, February 2 at 1:00 and 3:00 PM against the defending FCSAA State Champions and current #1 team State College of Florida.
The first game for SF Saturday is against Gulf Coast State College at 9:00 AM, they then turn right around against Chattanooga State at 11:00 AM, battle Northwest Florida State College at 3:20 and finish the marathon day against Pasco-Hernando CC at 5:40 PM.
“We are excited to get the season underway. We will be very young this year, and hopefully we will peak at the right time,” said Ahern. “We are returning four starters in the sophomore class, and we are looking to them for guidance and leadership.”
Leading the returners is first baseman/pitcher Karla Claudio. As a freshman Claudio hit .421 (59-for-140) with 11 homeruns and 30 RBI. In the circle she had a 10-7 record, 2.24 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 137.1 innings pitched. Catcher Layne McDermond (.260 BA, 11 RBI) returns to help guide a young pitching staff and center fielder Aileen Fiallo (.189 BA, 7 RBI) and OF Paige Sandiford (.236, 8 RBI) are back patrolling the outfield.
Pitcher Ashley Chapman (Valdosta, GA) and shortstop Galis Lozada Reyes (Las Piedras, Puerto Rico) lead a strong freshman class. Chapman will be counted on to log a lot of innings during the course of the season and Reyes is hoping to fill the shoes at shortstop left by two year starter Ashley Holton.
“Karla really had an outstanding year offensively and in the circle last season and we are hoping for a similar performance this year,” said Ahern. “Layne will see a lot of time behind the plate, and Aileen and Paige should also see a lot of innings. There is a lot of talent in the freshman class and if the chemistry is right, they should be able to hold their own and do some good things as well.”