The State College of Florida Manatees (formerly Manatee Community College) won the Florida Community College Activities Association (FLCCAA) state championship this year and earned a trip to the JUCO World Series this week.
And while the team got the short end of the schedule, drawing No. 1 nationally-ranked San Jacinto (Texas) in the opening round, several locals did well individually.
Leading the way was Lake Mary High School graduate Austin Chubb, who will become a member of the Sanford River Rats this season and is expected to join the club over the weekend.
The former Rams catcher opened the eyes of a lot of scouts at the JUCO Tournament in Grand Junction, Colorado, as he went 3-for-7, with three home runs, three runs scored, six RBI in two games.
After going 1-for-3 with a home run in a 13-5 loss to San Jac, he came back to go 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI in a tough, 10-9, loss to Chattanooga State. The Manatees (37-15) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but came one run short.
The most amazing thing about his power display was the fact that he hit just two home runs during the regular season.
Winter Springs grad Austin Smith, who will also join the River Rats later this week, got off to a slow start, going 0-for-4 in the opener, but the leadoff man for SCF, who played at UCF as a freshman, came to life in the second game, going 3-for-6 and scoring a run.
Another ex-Bear who also left the Knights for the Manatees, shortstop Anthony Figliolia, went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the opener and was 1-for-6 in the second game.
Another former UCF player, B.J. Zimmerman, also played for SCF, going 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in the first game, and 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the second game.
There is also several former Seminole County products playing at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
A trio of former Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College of Florida) have led Cumberland University of Tennessee into the Winner’s Bracket final that was played late Tuesday night.
Shortstop Sam Kikla and pitcher Adam Sprague and Seminole High School’s own Jason Frost have all been major contributors in the Bulldogs 55-9 season that gained them the No. 2 seed in the World Series.
Former Sanford River Rat and Oviedo High School graduate Corey Bevis helped pitch Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University into the World Series and then came up with a big win in relief on Monday to keep the Eagles alive in the tournament after the Daytona Beach-based school was knocked into the Loser’s Bracket by Cumberland.
But he is not the only SAC product at ERAU as the starting second baseman is J.T. Warmoth from Lake Brantley and the head coach is Randy Stegall and is top assistant is Chuck Stegall, two more ex-Patriots who played for Mike Smith.
The Eagles (48-18) pulled off a major shocker Tuesday afternoon as they stayed alive with a 10-7 victory over top-seeded Lewis-Clark State, eliminating the Warriors, who finish the season with a 48-5 record, an assuring themselves of at least a fourth-place finish.
A recap of the NAIA World Series will appear in The Sanford Herald after the conclusion of the tournament, which is scheduled to end Friday night.