■ Editor’s note: This is the first in a 10-part series looking back at the biggest athletic stories at Wiley College during the 2019-20 school year.
If there was any bright side for the Wiley College baseball team to see its season come to an unexpected early close, it was probably the fact that the Wildcats finished with a record of 11-9, their first winning record in a decade.
“It made it nice knowing our program was steadily headed in the right direction,” Wiley head baseball coach Kendrick Biggs said. “I hate that it ended because I think we would have had a good year. We had a chance to do some things. The guys put in a lot of hard work and now we’ve got to start over with new guys and stuff like that.”
The team opened the season with four straight wins and ended it with two come-from-behind victories against Tougaloo.
“I think overall, just communication, understanding the game, knowing the situation a little better and being able to fight through some things,” Biggs said when asked how the team improved the most from the season before.
“This team never gave up but would always fight back. We were down 10-1 in the fifth and came back and won 11-10. I told the guys they had a lot of talent on the team and could play with anybody as long as they believed in themselves. I think that was the biggest point when they started believing that they can win.”
Luis Santiago led the team with a batting average of .357 and 24 RBI. Manuel Torres hit .356, scored 16 runs and batted in 14 runs. Austin Rotramel finished 5-1 with an ERA of 3.34 and 34 strikeouts.
Noah Whitted went 2-2 with a 6.00 ERA and struck out 22 batters.
Biggs said he hates it for his stars, seniors in particular, that the season came to an early end.
“Especially Rotramel and some of those guys, they were really having good years,” he said. “I think he had a good chance to put up some national numbers this year.”
Wiley’s coach is hoping for some big things in 2021.
“As of right now, we’re planning to come back on schedule,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything different as of yet.”