It's never fun ending the season after all the hard work and effort by both the players and coaches, but looking back, the Patriots had a good year and a lot to be happy about. Several Patriots broke or set season, as well as career records and the Pats finished a best ever third in the always strong Mid-South Conference.
The Patriots went over the 200 win total as a four-program. Head coach Luther Bramblett has led the Pats to a 201-135 record since joining the NAIA and Mid-South Conference. He has a career record of 459-223 in his 13 years at St. Catharine College.
"I guess looking back, we had a pretty good year all things considered," stated Bramblett. "Our weather was the worst I've seen in 13 years here and I feel that it slowed us down a bit with losing practice and games, but our guys never complained and worked hard to improve each day. We finally got into our groove at the end of our season, but it was too late to overcome our slow start. With that said, I was proud of the way we competed and finished our season."
Even with their obstacles, the Patriot defense set a new school record with a .963 fielding percentage. Alfredo Bohorquez and Harold Diaz both led the way, being named to the Mid-South Conference Gold Glove team at second base and in the outfield respectively.
That strong team defense and strong pitching is what led the Patriots to their 19th straight winning season, which was in jeopardy late in the season. The Pats finished winning 7 of their last 10 games, while going 3-2 in the MSC Tournament and ended with a 28-27 overall record. In conference play, St. Catharine finished in 3rd place after sweeping Shawnee State University the last conference weekend of the year and they finished with a 15-12 mark.
"We had a roller coaster season in conference play - winning 5 weekend series with 2 coming by sweeps, and we lost 4 weekends. Six of our twelve losses in conference were by 1-run, but we won several 1-run games as well. What we can take from conference play is that our league is very good, balanced and we're so close to where we want to be."
Their strong weekends were led by the strong arms in the Patriot stable. Weekend starter John Werner was named 1st Team Mid-South Conference and closer Jake McCoy was named to the second team. Werner jumped into the single season record book with 83 innings pitched, which ranks him 3rd. He also tallied 80 strikeouts, landing him tied at 3rd in a single season. McCoy is tied at the top of the single season save record with 9 and that also puts him in 2nd place on the all time list. He also is tied in 3rd on the single season appearance list with 21 this year.
Steven Borkowski, another starter, landed behind Werner in the 4th slot with 77 innings this year. Senior reliever Trenton Claunch took control of the single season appearance record with 29 trips to the pitchers mound this year. Claunch also finished with a career 57 appearances, which is tied for 5th all time. Cory Klinger took over the top spot on the career appearance list, the senior ended with 71 career jogs to the bump. Andrew Nelson finished his career with 131.1 total innings in two years, placing in 5th place on the career innings pitched list.
"Our arms gave us a chance each and every time out, especially on the weekends. Most every weekend our starters went deep and our bullpen closed the door. Those guys will be tough to replace, with 7 seniors on the staff."
Offensively the Patriots were led by Bohorquez and Nick Rosso, as both were named to the MSC Second Team. Bohorquez raced into the Patriot record book with his 38 stolen bases. That puts him 2nd on the single season list. He also wore 21 pitches, placing him 2nd on the single season hit by pitch list. Harold Diaz joins him on that list in 3rd with 18 HBP. Adrian Garcia and Diaz both played in every game this season (55), placing them in a fifth place tie on the single season games played list.
The Patriots staff now turn their attention the replacing the departing 10 seniors. "We have to replace some quality students and athletes. It's not going to be an easy task replacing some of these guys, they've been good leaders, good players and great people off the field."