EFSC Baseball Starts Up Jan. 31, First Pitch 1 P.M.
By Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications // January 28, 2015
Last year finished 28-19 overall
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Eastern Florida’s baseball team reached the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region 8 tournament last spring for the first time since 2001.
But its stay was short-lived as it lost its first two games.
Knowing what it took to get there – including a dramatic, bottom of the ninth inning walk-off home run in the play-in game – and possessing more depth than last season the Titans are poised for another run.
Standing between them and another May trip to Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium is the FCSAA Southern Conference which has produced NJCAA Division I national finalists in Palm Beach State College and Miami Dade College the last two seasons.
Eastern Florida finished third in the conference last season with a 12-12 record slotting in behind first-place Miami Dade (18-6) and second-place Palm Beach (12-12), on a tiebreaker.
Miami Dade and Palm Beach both automatically qualified for the state tournament.
Broward College and Indian River State both finished 9-15 to round out the conference.
Eastern Florida finished 28-19 overall. To that end head coach Jeff Tam has built a team featuring strong pitching, good hitting, solid defense and speed, all the necessary ingredients for a successful season.
Returnees include outfielder and Southern Conference Player of the Year Christian Diaz who led the team with eight home runs including the walk-off against St. Petersburg College in the play-in game and one against Palm Beach in the regular-season finale.
He is joined by All-Conference pitcher right hander Dulvis Borjas, right hander Alec Lamrouex who missed the 2014 season with an injury, infielder Nick Capra, relief pitcher Miguel Castellanos, infielder/outfielder Angel Soto, relievers Matt Yates and Josh Smith and designated hitter and first baseman Alessandro Lima.
Lamrouex is expected to fill the closer role with four or five pitchers who could fill the set-up role over the 54-game season.
Tam also recruited a number of talented transfers and freshmen who are expected to have an immediate impact.
They include right-handed pitcher Dustin Hagay, left-handed sidewinder Bradley Burdett, right-hander Noah Dyals, catcher Jeff Korte, a freshman from Melbourne High, Capra’s twin brothers and infielders John and Vinny who both played at Melbourne Central Catholic and centerfielder Luis Silverio who transferred from Palm Beach.
“I think this year we have a very good mix,” said Tam, a former six-season Major League Baseball pitcher beginning his third season at Eastern Florida.
“We’re very fast. We have a lot of depth. One game at a time like always. The end goal is to get to the state tournament and do well.
“Getting there (in 2014) was a challenge. We lost two of our top arms early in the season. But the other guys worked hard, the back-ups stepped up and did their job.”
The Titans open the season on Saturday hosting Florida State College Jacksonville in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at renovated Bruce Bochy Field on the Melbourne Campus.
Admission is free.
“We’re very fortunate with the facility with (College President) Dr. (Jim) Richey and (Associate Vice President for Athletics) Jeff Carr upping the ante as far as the stands and the (batting) cage and the fencing,” Tam said.
“Just making it one of the top junior college facilities in the state of Florida, no doubt.”
Their first of 28 conference games – teams now play each other seven times to eliminate the need for tiebreakers – is Thursday, Feb. 5 at Broward in Davie.
“It is a very tough conference, no doubt,” Tam said. “The entire state of Florida is very tough.”
Tam is assisted by Jason Broussard and Jose Soto.
Three of the Titans home conference games will be televised live on WEFS-TV and streamed live at njcaatv.com/efsc
They are: 6 p.m. April 3 vs. Broward; 6 p.m. April 14 vs. Indian River and 5 p.m. April 21 vs. Palm Beach.