Santa Fe baseball clinches third-straight conference title
For the third season in a row, Santa Fe baseball clinched the Mid-Florida Conference title.
“It’s a really deep team," head coach Johnny Wiggs said. "Every day a different guy has helped us win baseball games and we’ve found ways to win really close games. If we haven’t hit we’ve pitched. If we haven’t pitched we’ve hit.”
Because the Saints are a junior college, the players are only there for two years at the most, which makes the recruiting process much different than that of a four-year college.
“I’ve always jokingly said that college coaches have it the toughest" said Wiggs. "You have to develop a team, develop team chemistry and comradery, and all those kinds of things in a very short period of time It’s a brand new team every year. We always say it’s like Florida weather. If you don’t like your team it’s gonna change soon, but we’ve liked a lot of our teams in recent years. We’ve had a lot of success.
“Santa Fe over its time has done a good job of winning baseball games and winning championships, but hopefully the best thing we do is help our guys graduate and move on to the four-year level. For example, last year we had seventeen sophomores, sixteen of them signed with four-year colleges.”
Gator outfielder and pitcher Nick Horvath is a former Saint, and says Wiggs is the type of coach who would probably win a lot of games at the four-year level.
"A lot of guys from Santa Fe go to a four year college and have a lot of success," Horvath said. "And you see a lot of guys go to play pro ball and they have success too. He’s a good coach.”
In addition to talking about the skill Wiggs possesses as a coach, former Saints Keon Broxton and Horvath said he's an impressive runner.
“He can run like twelve miles," said Brewers Triple-A outfielder Broxton. "I don’t think any other coach can run twelve miles. It’s pretty impressive. It’s something he puts all his players through.”
Horvath added, “When I showed up the first day we had this circuit. He’s like okay, warm up with four laps around the track and he started doing it with us. I was like oh my god.”
Santa Fe has three games remaining on its regular season schedule before they prepare for postseason play in the middle of May.