The Santa Fe College Saints baseball team opens its 2020 spring season at Pasco-Hernando State College on Friday, Jan. 24. The following day, the Saints return home to face the Conquistadors to end its doubleheader.
In 2019, the Saints had a record of 38-17 and lost to State College of Florida in the state tournament 8-2. Santa Fe finished second in its conference.
According to Saints’ head coach Johnny Wiggs, the team is only fielding six returning players this season. When Wiggs joined Steve Russell on Sportscene on Jan. 22, he talked about how his young team is making progress to meet the “Santa Fe standard”.
On the 2020 Saints’ roster is six players from Gainesville and the surrounding area. According to Wiggs, having local players helps the team in multiple ways.
Wiggs also pointed out that pitching looks to be a strong position group for the Saints in 2020. Santa Fe boasts a group that includes Brooks Walton, the son of Florida Gators softball head coach Tim Walton.
With such a young team, Wiggs says that starting positions are really competitive. According to Wiggs, the outfield is young and the most competitive position group on the team right now. All but one outfielder are freshmen.
Santa Fe Standard
Coach Wiggs wants to continue a standard of winning. In his 13-year tenure with the Saints, he’s had lots of success. Wiggs has won eight conference championships, two state championships, and two JUCO World Series.
Wiggs works tirelessly to help his players get to division 1 schools. A number of players from the Saints’ 2019 roster currently play for Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Jacksonville University, Georgia Southern, Tulane and many other large baseball schools in the country. However, Wiggs’ players do not always stop at college.
As of January 2020, there are three former Santa Fe players in Major League Baseball. Mallex Smith of the Seattle Mariners, Keon Broxton of the Baltimore Orioles, and Ryan Yarbrough of the Tampa Bay Rays are former Santa Fe Saint players that play at the highest level in baseball.
On Sportscene, Wiggs defined what he meant by having a culture at Santa Fe.