May 21, 2016
Photo credit: Tom Hagerty, Polk State
Gainesville, FL – The Santa Fe Saints (42-8) showed their resiliency today in Lakeland, fighting back from an early 4-0 hole to defeat Chipola College 6-4, winning the schools third FCSAA Championship (2009, 1985). Trent Johnson was masterful on the mound, retiring the last 14 batters he faced. Troy Bacon retired three straight in the ninth for his 15th save. The meeting was the third between the two teams at the tournament.
Chipola opened the scoring in the fourth with four straight runs, and it looked like they were going to do what they did all tournament long and run away for a victory. Trent Johnson had other ideas as he held the Indians in check, allowing his teammates the opportunity to rally.
In the fifth Hugo Valdes led off with a walk, but Chipola pitcher Bowden Francis quickly retired the next two batters. Like all tournament though, the Saints answered the bell with two outs. Kyle Philips singled through the hole at second and Cole Parks doubled home two runs to cut the lead in half.
Matt Allen completed the comeback in the top of the sixth, mashing a homerun to left center to tie the game up. Valdes later scored in the inning on an error by Chipola short stop Jose Caballero to give SF a lead they would not relinquish.
Allen one upped himself an inning later, hitting another homerun, this one a solo shot, to add an insurance run. It was more than enough as Johnson and Bacon didn't allow a base runner past the fourth inning.
"I'm so proud of our team," said SF Coach Johnny Wiggs. "They have been so consistent all year with their effort. We didn't lose two games in a row all year and that shows the kind of effort they give on a game in game out basis. Trent really stepped up after the fourth and Matt was his normal clutch self."
At the conclusion of the tournament, Matt Allen was named Most Outstanding Player, Trent Johnson was named Most Outstanding Pitcher, and Johnny Wiggs was named the FCSAA/NJCAA Gulf District Coach of the Year.
Next up for the Saints is the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. The tournament takes place May 28-June 4 at Suplizio Field. Full info about the tournament can be found here:www.jucogj.org
For complete schedules, stats, and more information please visit www.santafesaints.com.