HOUSTON, Texas — The San Jacinto College baseball team feels like winning the national championship in 2022 is a very real possibility. While the 2021 season was a challenging year for everyone across the country, the Gators are taking the momentum they gained last year and pushing toward even loftier goals in 2022.
"We managed to play an entire successful season, well into the JUCO World Series, without any major disruptions or illness," said Tom Arrington, head baseball coach. "So many days, our staff met and discussed our COVID protocols and mitigation efforts. We have great leadership at the top and a fantastic emergency management team here at San Jacinto College. It was taxing for sure, but we got through it because of the procedures in place."
The Gators return almost every position player with significant playing time last season. Fourteen Gators represented San Jacinto College at the National Junior College Athletic Association Texas/New Mexico All-Star event this past September. They were voted on by the coaches throughout the Region XIV South Conference. Not only did they participate, but every one of them performed well enough to be recognized by Prep Baseball Report on their top 350 players in junior college among all NJCAA levels (D1, D2, D3), California, and the Pacific Northwest.
In total, San Jacinto College has 20 players in the top 350 of PBR's rankings. Returning Gators include (listed by PBR's ranking by position):
"I really like where we are as a team," said Eric Weaver, assistant baseball coach. "I believe we have depth at each position, and the pitching staff is much improved from the front end to the closer."
In 2022, there is no doubt that outside competition will test this group more than ever. San Jacinto will open the weekend of Jan. 29-30 in Denison, Texas, with games against Region V powerhouse Grayson College in a Saturday doubleheader before facing Seminole State College of Oklahoma for another doubleheader on Sunday.
Feb. 4-6, the Gators travel to Panama City Beach, Florida, as one of 16 teams invited to the Panama City Beach Invitational hosted by Gulf Coast State College. Invited teams include some of the nation's highest ranked and most respected clubs in America. The entire Gator schedule and game times can be located here.
As of the start of spring practice on Jan. 10, the Gators have 14 players currently committed to NCAA D1 universities for fall 2022:
The region is loaded with high-caliber teams and very talented players throughout the league. However, with the roster as it is, the Gators have as good a shot as any at winning their sixth national championship in June.
"We get to play for it," said James Kirk, assistant coach. "Might as well try and win it while we're at it."
All games are streamed live on TSRN Sports Radio both home and on the road.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top five community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College spans five campuses serving approximately 41,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.