May 9, 2013
Contact: Scott Jamison
Gainesville, FL – The Santa Fe Saints are headed to St. George, Utah May 15-18 for the NJCAA National Tournament thanks to some clutch hits, stellar defense and solid pitching last weekend at the FCSAA/NJCAA Region VIII Tournament in Pensacola, FL.
Karla Claudio led the charge both offensively and defensively, belting five homeruns to go with three wins in the circle on Friday and Saturday. She finished the tournament hitting .571 with five homers, 10 RBI, a double, six runs, and six walks at the plate. In the circle she was 3-0, defeating Daytona State College, NJCAA #3 Indian River State College, and NJCAA #9 Miami Dade College.
The Saints slowly on Friday against Daytona State College in round one, but rallied to pick up a 6-4 win thanks to a grand slam from Rachel Hoeft, her second homerun of the season.
Later in the day SF was involved in a game with Indian River that took just over four hours and part of two days to complete thanks to an overnight rain delay. Celeste Bradshaw played the hero against the Pioneers, smashing two homeruns, including one in the top of the 11th to keep the Saints in the Atlantic District driver’s seat. Claudio and McDonald also homered, with McDonald’s tying the score at 4-4 in the sixth inning.
Next up for the Saints was Miami Dade College. SF fell behind for the third game in a row, but once again came up with the clutch hits to rally for the 3-1 win. Claudio earned the win in the circle, Geena Capitini tied the score at 1-1 with a homerun and Rachel Hoeft slapped a hit down the right field line to plate the game winning runs in the fifth.
Amber Maxey and the Santa Fe offense handled business in the Atlantic District championship game, earning the Saints a berth in the NJCAA Tournament with a 9-3 win over Central Florida. Claudio homered twice, Capitini also went yard and Amber Maxey held the Patriots at bay for seven innings.
Having already clinched a spot in the NJCAA National Tournament with their win over Central Florida earlier in the day, the Santa Fe Saints battled Chipola College for the FCSAA Championship and came up just short, falling 8-5 to the Indians Sunday afternoon. After arough firs tinning, Maxey entered in the second and held the high powered Indians to just three runs over the next six innings.
“Karla and Amber combined to do a great job against opposing team’s hitters,” said Coach Chris Ahern. “Amber stepped up big later in the State tournament on the mound, getting the win against CCF, and holding Chipola later on in the State Championship game.”
Claudio did all that she could for the Saints, going 4-for-4, hitting two homeruns, giving her five for the tournament and a new single season school record of 17. She has 28 in her career, also a school record.
“As a whole the team put together a good defensive weekend, with a couple of miscues here and there, but they did great on offense to compensate for that,” said Ahern. “Eleven homeruns including two each for Bradshaw and Capitini, five for Claudio, one for McDonald, and a grand slam by Hoeft made things easier on our pitchers and defense.”
The NJCAA National Tournament takes place in St. George, Utah on May 15-18.
Tournament MVP: Karla Claudio
FCSAA All-Tournament: Karla Claudio, Rachel Hoeft
Atlantic District All-Tournament: Karla Claudio, Rachel Hoeft, Yanira Sanchez, Megan McDonald, Celeste Bradshaw