The State Fair Community College Roadrunners (SFCC) are busy preparing for the upcoming season. Roadrunners Baseball Head Coach Jud Kindle likes what he seen so far.

“Luckily, the weather has allowed us to get outside and get some things accomplished,” said Kindle. “I feel like we are ahead of the game. In the last couple of seasons, we haven’t really been able to get outside before our first game."

SFCC fans can expect to see an exciting style of baseball from the Roadrunners this season.

“Offensively, we return more than 55 homeruns off of last year’s team,” said Kindle. “With the sophomores we have back, we can definitely put some balls over the fence. On the mound, we are a lot better, we have a very mature freshman class with more options. They got a lot of repetitions for us in the fall and have already gone through some of their growing pains as they transition to the college game."

Coach Kindle expects leadership to come from a variety of places on this year’s team.

“I think Roy Holcomb, Antonio Escano, and Andrew McLaughlin are three of our sophomores on the mound who have really stepped up and led our starting pitching staff. Carson Fewell has also shown some leadership for us coming out of the bullpen. Our leadership has improved a lot since last year. As far as our position players, Brandon Stahlman is about as good a player as I’ve ever coached. Brandon is the most even-keel ball player we have. He is very consistent. Austin Warkins can really hit the ball. He can play multiple positions on the field. He has also provided a lot of leadership for us. Brayden McGinnis has also really come along as leader for us."

Coach Kindle also expects some newcomers to the program to have prominent roles this season.

“Chase Carson is a newcomer to our pitching staff,” said Kindle. “He does nothing but give us consistent innings. He also stays in the strike zone and is super competitive. Another newcomer to our pitching staff is Jack Lawton. He has definitely set the tone for us along with Zach Buschschulte. Zach had a great fall for us with velocity in the upper 80s low 90s range and he has a great slider."

In the field, Zeke Henson is one of the best true route running centerfielders Kindle has seen.

“Zeke tracks the ball extremely well. Our outfield is stronger with him in centerfield. Caleb Casto is a solid hitter who has really come on as a freshman. He will get quite a few at-bats this year."

SFCC will open the season Feb. 11 against Dallas College-North Lake in Dallas, Texas. The following day SFCC will play a doubleheader against Dallas College-North Lake and Western Oklahoma State College, both games will take place in Dallas, Texas. SFCC will open the home portion of their schedule at Liberty Park Stadium-Dey Field on Friday, Feb. 18 with a doubleheader against Muskegon Community College.

“I like our schedule this year,” said Kindle. “It is a more balanced schedule than our schedule last year. We played a lot of teams that were ranked in the top 10 last year. I like our chances to do well consistently throughout the season."

Coach Kindle believes Region 16 will be strong again this season.

“I think top to bottom there’s not a team in our region who couldn’t beat any other team in our region on any given day,” said Kindle. “I believe that we stack up well against them all. I think this is the best team on paper that we’ve been able to put together in my six years here."Coach Kindle has some goals he would like to see his team accomplish this season, the first is to win another Team Academic Award from the NJCAA, as well as to compete for and win the region.

“Our student-athletes have to keep doing all the small things right in the classroom and on the field,” said Kindle. “There are ups and downs in every season, and it is important for us to handle ourselves the correct way and stay consistent.”

--David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics