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For the 1st time, SJR State’s baseball and softball teams playing in respective national world series
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For the 1st time, SJR State’s baseball and softball teams playing in respective national world series

  • PublishedMay 18, 2024

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A local college’s baseball and softball teams are capping off historic seasons in a unique way.

For the first time in school history, both the St. Johns River State College’s baseball and softball teams are playing in their respective National Junior College Athletic Association DII world series.

“I know that we have an amazing team,” said Kendall Catherwood, a centerfielder and shortstop for the softball team. “I am pretty excited and we are all pretty hyped.”

Catherwood helped lead the softball team to a record 50 wins.

She is this year’s Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) DII regional player of the year and scholar athlete of the year.

St. Johns River State College softball team (St. Johns River State College)

Freshman pitcher Caylee Elder is honored to be making history in her first season.

“Whether we are running slides or racing on the field, we all want to win,” Elder said. “I think the whole team being competitive just picks each other up and pushes us all to be better.”

St. Johns River State College softball (St. Johns River State College)

“It really shows how competitive we are as a group,” said Catherwood, who is a Creekside High School alum. “I think they were at least five or six games that we were behind going into the sixth or seventh inning within the last month or so. We came back and won all except for one.”

For the second year in a row, the baseball team is heading to the world series.

St. Johns River State College baseball team (St. Johns River State College)

Pitcher Aaron Potter got a taste of it last year after making it all the way to the Final Four.

“It makes you feel like you have something to take with you when you are done with the game,” Potter said, who graduated from Atlantic Coast High School. “It is something to look back on. It took a lot of focus and hard work. There are days when you just don’t feel like coming to the field and there are kinks that have to be fixed. You have to get up and get out there and working through the kinks.”

Both squads clinched their respective spots after winning their regional championships.

Both head coaches and the president of the school say these student athletes are special and they belong on this national stage.

“They had to buy in to the things that we like to do,” said softball head coach Joe Pound. “They had to work hard at it and be competitive. We have a lot of talented players and the fact that they were able to be competitive throughout the season is what got us to the win total that we are at.”

Pound was also named the FCSAA) DII regional coach of the year.

“It is an honor to receive it, but it means that we have a good team,” he said. “Anytime a coach is recognized, it is because you have pretty good players that had a successful season. We have broken a lot of records from the wind percentage, the home runs and hits, and that kind of stuff. For us, it is bigger than breaking the records. We are trying to set a new standard.”

St. Johns River State College baseball (St. Johns River State College)

Baseball head coach Ross Jones said he is impressed with how his team responded through a year of adversity.

“We had a lot more injuries. We have had some tough times,” Jones said, who is in his 16th year at the helm. “We have persevered really through this season. We lost five guys for the season, including our three- and four-hole hitters. Building a family has been pretty special. They are a special group of young people. They love each other. They love working hard and they find a way.”

“Both of these coaches have worked remarkably hard,” said Joe Pickens, who is SJR State’s president. “We pride ourselves in being an academic institution first. Hearing the term student athlete is truly meaningful and always will be.”

The Vikings are heading to different states for their big tournament as they each will play in a field of 20 teams.

The softball team is playing in South Carolina from May 20-25.

The baseball team goes to Oklahoma from May 25 to June 1.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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