The excitement and enthusiasm that surrounds the Santa Fe Saints Softball program is evident and first year Head Coach Lindsay Fico would not have it any other way. "The coaches, the players, we are all ready to go," said Fico. "It is the kind of excitement we expect to bring to the field. An attitude that will allow us to compete at a high level."
The Saints won't have long to wait as their season gets underway Friday evening when they face defending State Champion Florida Southwestern at the annual JUCO Kickoff Classic held in Clearwater. Coming off a 53-5 season in which they finished 5th at the NJCAA National Tournament, FSW will open 2019 ranked #3 as announced by the NJCAA Tuesday afternoon.
"They have a great program," said Fico, "so we will be tested right from the start."
The Saints have a balanced roster of eight returners and 10 freshmen that is coming off a fall practice season filled with a newness that comes with a first-year coach.
"It has been a learning experience for all of us," said Fico. "We have had to get to know each other quickly and recognize the strengths and weaknesses we all bring to the team."
Sophomore Jamie Adams, 9-3 last year, is expected to take the lead role in the circle, but freshman Donnie Gobourne has emerged as a diamond in the rough, both in the circle and at the plate. "Donnie consistently throws between 65-67 mph," said Fico. "She has improved tremendously during the fall and will certainly be a mainstay in the Saints starting lineup throughout the season."
"We are going to rely heavily on our sophomores to provide the leadership we will need to be a disciplined, effective team," said Fico. "This includes on and off the field."
In one of her first orders of business, Fico brought Cara Parker on as her top assistant coach along with returning volunteer assistants, John West and Adam Souilliard, who make up a staff the has earned the confidence and respect of the players. "Cara is very knowledgeable and relates well to the players. I love this staff and feel like we are all on the same page and pulling in the same direction," said Fico.
The Saints will play two more games at the Classic on Saturday before returning to Gainesville to host the University of Puerto Rico in the Saints home opener on Sunday, a doubleheader beginning at 1 pm.
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Almost Local Players
Longest drive home
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