Lindsay Fico will begin her second season at the helm of the Saints softball team when her squad travels to Clearwater to compete in the JUCO Kickoff Showcase on Friday and Saturday.
The Saints will take on Fayetteville Tech. Community College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on Friday with games against Gulf Coast State College and Palm Beach State College on Saturday.
"We have a number of players who have been on winning teams before, whether it be their high schools or travel ball squad," said Fico. "When you have a team made up of individuals who are used to winning and truly care about each other, a lot can fall into place pretty easily. They have all worked hard the last few days to make sure we start out on the right foot this weekend in Clearwater."
The Saints, who finished with a record of 23-28 last year, return five sophomores on the active roster led by pitcher/outfielder Donnie Gobourne and first baseman Karina Ortiz-Munoz who hit .317 with 13 extra base hits last year. Gobourne had a 2.93 earned run average in the circle and hit .352 with five doubles and four home runs.
"Savana will quarterback the defense behind the plate this year," said Fico. "She has a very strong glove and an innate ability to keep all our pitchers calm and comfortable regardless of the situation."
The circle will likely be occupied by either Gobourne, or newcomers Cris'Deona Beasley and Morgan Lebeda. Beasley is a freshman out of Columbia HS while Lebeda, originally from Deltona HS, transferred in from North Carolina Central University after the fall semester.
"Our hope is to compete at a higher level in the circle," said Fico. "Our pitching staff should give us a great opportunity to win every ball game we play this season. They all have focused on controlling the strike zone and having command of every pitch thrown to limit free bases. It was our Achilles heel last year. We lost a number of ball games last year after scoring five or more runs."
The Saints look to score early and often in games to take some pressure off the pitching staff.
"We also expect to be stronger in box," said Fico. "We have multiple hitters who can hit the long ball, but also have the speed to have a quality short game. I'm excited to see how we hit through the entire order this weekend after a very productive fall."
The Saints first home games of the season will come next Tuesday, February 4th, when Tallahassee CC comes to Gainesville for a doubleheader beginning at 2 pm.
For all SF Athletics schedules, stats and more visit santafesaints.com.