The FCSAA #5 Santa Fe Saints baseball team(30-10) qualified for the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region VIII Tournament for the first time in three years this season, and Coach Johnny Wiggs and the Saints are relishing the opportunity to take the field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland on Friday, May 8 against Gulf Coast State College at 4:00 PM. The tournament is double elimination and runs through May 13. The winner will advance on to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“After not being there the last two years, it’s exciting to be back in the State Tournament,” said Wiggs. “This tournament is such a grind, playing six straight days and trying to beat out nine other quality teams. It is the toughest and I believe one of the largest regions in the country. It will be a great challenge for us and I look forward to watching our guys compete.”
Santa Fe finished the regular season with a 30-10 overall record, and finished second in the Mid-Florida Conference with a 17-6 mark, drawing the Panhandle Conference #3 seed Gulf Coast after the Commodores defeated Eastern Florida State College in a play in game on April 28. GCSC was 32-18 during the regular season and 9-10 in Panhandle play.
“Going 30-10 and 17-6 in conference was a very good year,” commented Wiggs. “The guys did a great job battling all year and really grew closer and became a team. They are really excited to play in the postseason. There is nothing better than playing baseball when every pitch, play, and at bat means something – and determines whether your season continues or comes to an end.”
Trent Johnson (Williston, FL) will take the hill for the Saints on Friday, bringing a 9-1 record and 2.02 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 75.2 innings pitched.
SF hit .308 as a team during the regular season, manufacturing runs the old fashioned way. They hit only 12 homeruns as a team, but timely hitting, and 73 stolen bases were a recipe for success.
“We have had times during the year where our pitching carried us and times when we leaned on our offense,” said Wiggs. “It will be crucial for us to do the little things offensively, play fundamentally sound defense, and get good starting pitching for us to be real successful.”
As a staff the Saints pitchers had a 3.02 ERA, the second lowest in school history, and struck out 308 batters in 330.2 innings. They allowed less than a hit per inning, and walked just 108 batters.
Fans can watch every game of the tournament on www.psblive.com.
For complete tournament information, including a bracket, please visit http://thefcsaasports.com/championships/fcsaa_baseball_tournament