In a town like Gainesville with a top ranked back to back NCAA champion softball team and a top ranked baseball team in the Florida Gators, at times the junior college down the road flies under the radar. Well, not anymore as the Santa Fe Saints baseball team’s spectacular start has propelled them into the national spotlight.
The Saints (25-4; Conf: 7-1) are not only the No.1 team in the state but also No.9 in the Perfect Game National Poll. Head coach Johnny Wiggs has developed the Santa Fe program into one of the most consistent, successful junior college programs in the nation. The Saints were on a 16 game win streak before picking up their first conference loss of the season Saturday March 12th, 2016 against Daytona State College. Yet, the Saints were sure to redeem the loss and hand head coach Johnny Wiggs his 300th win Monday defeating Daytona State College 19-9.
Looking forward to the rest of the season head coach Johnny Wiggs believes the team’s depth will be the difference maker. Offensively the Saints are as efficient as they come with the team hitting over .300 and producing 6.65 runs per game. Santa Fe is led by sophomore Hugo Valdes with a .408 batting average. Yet they are just as good defensively. Santa Fe is the number one junior college team in the state pertaining to fielding percentage.
With all that being said, it doesn’t hurt to have one of the most successful junior college coaches in the driver’s seat. Johnny Wiggs has 499 career victories between his tenure at Santa Fe and as the head coach at Polk State College. He also has had 90 players sign with four year colleges and six go directly into professional baseball.
Up next, the Saints finish their series with Daytona State today at 3 p.m. They also look forward to international competition against Canada’s own Lafleche (March 19th) and finally return to conference play for a top matchup with St. John’s River State College beginning March 25th.