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 and 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 (NJCAA) 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 (PBR) 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):
- #1 Chris Stuart, COVID freshman returnee, pitched mostly relief in 2021 before making a debut at the JUCO World Series
- #4 Hunter Hollan, COVID freshman, led the Gators in strikeouts with 104 in 73 innings and was 11-3 on the 2021 season
- #6 JJ Sanchez, Coastal Bend College transfer
- #9 Evan Godwin, Baylor University transfer
- #14, Dillon Janac, COVID freshman transfer, Rice University
- #30 Calin Knight COVID freshman transfer, Ranger Junior College
- #54 Matthew Tieding, COVID freshman, 11-2 for the Gators in 2021.
- #52 Lex Garcia, COVID freshman returnee, the Gators go-to arm last season
- #63 Andrew Petrowski, COVID freshman transfer, Garden City Community College
- #158 Christian Johnson, COVID freshman transfer, Cowley County Community College
- #2 Sabin Ceballos, COVID freshman returnee
- #3 Harold Coll, COVID freshman returnee
- #21 Allan Shibley, COVID freshman returnee
- #7 Mason Lytle, COVID sophomore returnee
- #25 Luke Pectol, COVID freshman returnee
- #30 Camden Jordan, December transfer, University of Louisville
“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 includes 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 the fall of 2022:
- Janac – Texas A&M University
- Godwin – Texas A&M University
- Coll – University of Arkansas
- Hollan – Texas Christian University
- Stuart – University of Texas
- Shibley – Washington State University
- Knight – Washington State University
- Sanchez – Arizona State University
- Armani Sanchez, infielder – University of Houston
- Tieding – Western Kentucky University
- Jared Rhodes, catcher – Incarnate Word University
- Ben Greer, utility – Abilene Christian University
- Ceballos – University of Oregon
- Pectol – University of Arkansas – Little Rock
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.