If someone were to ask you about baseball out of Gainesville, Florida, it's easy to immediately think of the 2017 College World Series champion Florida Gators. The town's quality college baseball doesn't stop there, though.
The Santa Fe Saints are currently ranked No. 4 JUCO in the country, dropping from the No. 1 spot two weeks ago.
Since 2009, seven Saints have gone pro straight out of junior college, and 94 have gone on to four years.
“I think it all started the year before I got there and the year that I got there," outfielder and former Saint Keon Broxton, who plays for Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate, said. "We started a foundation of winning baseball, just that year in 2009. Every year after that’s it’s gotten better and better, and now they’re top 25.”
Head coach Johnny Wiggs loves to keep track of the success of his former players.
“Being able to track them is one of the favorite things I do in the morning during baseball season," Wiggs said. "Jump on the computer and see how the guys did the night before. It brings a lot of pride to our program.”
That pride is also felt by former players, and when Broxton was told about his former school's ranking he couldn't help but smile.
“That’s what I’m talking about Santa Fe.”
Broxton grew up in Lakeland, Florida. He played in the majors with the Pirates in 2015, and the Brewers the past two seasons. He’s starting off the 2018 season in Milwaukee's minor league camp.
He said coach Wiggs did a great job preparing him for pro ball.
“He lets his kids go out there and have fun, but he’s also a strict coach too," Broxton said. "He has rules and wants his players to abide by those rules. It’s a good structure for kids, especially at that age, and he helped me a lot. It was just an all-around great program to go to and a good place to go to school and play baseball."
The Saints are 28-6 overall and 9-2 in conference play.