Gainesville, FL – The 2016 FCSAA champion Santa Fe Saints have wrapped up preseason practices and will open the defense of their title Friday in Tampa against Hillsborough CC at 3 p.m.
The Saints return 12 players from their championship team including All-American and MFC Pitcher of the Year Troy Bacon who finished with a school record 15 saves and a 1.23 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched. Stephen Smith, a local player from Trenton, returns to pace the offense. A year ago he hit .368 with two homeruns and 35 RBI.
“The guys are excited to get started and play somebody else – not just intra-squad,” said SF Coach Johnny Wiggs. “We had a real good fall and hope to be able to see some of the same qualities from our team this spring. Our pitching should be a strength with many returners from last year and we showed this fall that our defense has a chance to be as well.”
Coach Wiggs hopes that the returning class who made a trip to Grand Junction and the Juco World Series, will help lead the way for the 14 newcomers.
“We have 12 returners from last year’s 42-10 State Championship team and hopefully they can give great leadership to the others to help us learn to be consistent in our effort every day,” Wiggs said. “It should be a lot of fun to see us compete and improve as we move throughout the season. As defending conference and state champions, we will not sneak up on anybody, we will have a target on our backs.”
The first home games for the Saints will be Saturday, Jan. 28 at noon against South Georgia State in a double header. They will continue Sunday, Jan. 29 at home against Indian River, giving them four games in three days to open the season.
Sophomore Kyle Morton will take the ball on opening day. Starting on the hill Saturday at home will be Robert Girgis in game one, and Sean Gabel in game two. Mitch Campion gets the nod Sunday.
Admission to all home Santa Fe College baseball games is free. There is also a full concession stand available at every game.
For complete schedules, stats and more information please visit www.santafesaints.com.