FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Moraga, CA – Saint Mary’s College Director of Athletics and Recreational Sports Mark Orr, announced a contract extension for head baseball coach Jedd Soto. Soto, the school’s third winningest coach since 1968, has received a three-year contract extension, which keeps Soto under contract through the 2012 season.
“I’m very pleased to continue Jedd Soto’s leadership of the baseball program,” said Orr. “The progress this program has had under his leadership has been impressive. His ability to recruit and develop quality student-athletes is something I look forward to seeing him continue to do for years to come.
“Serving in the Saint Mary’s College Lassalian community for the past six years has been very rewarding,” said Soto. “I am proud to be part of building a tradition of excellence on and off the baseball field each year, and look forward to the challenge of elevating our program to the next level.”
After six seasons at the helm, Soto has 135 career victories, and ranks third in wins at Saint Mary’s since 1968. Soto’s teams have finished .500 or better in three of his six years as head coach, and each of the last two seasons. His total of 101 wins from 2006-09 are the most by a head coach for the Gaels in a four-year period since Tom Wheeler won 114 from 1982-85.
Soto’s extension comes after a 2008 campaign in which the Gaels went 28-27, posting the first winning season since 2006, while the 28 wins were also the most in a single season since 1991. Also in 2009, the Gaels had nine wins during the West Coast Conference regular season, which tied for the most since the conference switched to a 21-game regular season schedule. Additionally, Saint Mary’s was in the WCC playoff hunt up until the last two weekends of the season.
These accomplishments came out of a schedule that was ranked the 22nd most difficult schedule in Division I in the preseason. Highlights for the 2009 season included: a season sweep of Stanford, one of which was when the Cardinal was ranked no. 20 in the country; WCC series wins over San Diego when they were ranked #24 nationally, WCC runner-up Loyola Marymount and Portland; wins over Cal Poly when they were ranked #13 nationally and UC Santa Barbara when they were ranked #25 nationally; and a 3-1 record in the Sam Houston State Invitational, which included two wins over Southland Conference Champion, Sam Houston State, and Big 12 power, Nebraska. The Gaels recorded 19 of their 28 wins at home at Louis Guisto field.
The extension also comes after a season in which the Gaels had four players drafted in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, the most in a single season since 1991 when Saint Mary’s also had four players drafted. Since his first season in 2004, Soto has had 12 Gaels drafted or signed to a free agent contract. The four drafted in 2009 tied for the second most by a West Coast Conference team.
Soto also had an all-American honoree for the second consecutive season. Freshman Troy Channing was honored with five national postseason awards, including Second Team All-American and a First Team Freshman All-American by Baseball America. This follows Kyle Jensen’s all-American honors after the 2008 season. Channing was the fourth Gael in three years named to a freshman all-American team, following Anthony Aliotti and Randy Wells in 2007, and Justin Fazio in 2008.
The future looks bright for the Gaels, whom have 26 players returning, while adding 18 freshmen that will battle for a spot on the 2010 squad. Soto will begin his seventh season at Saint Mary’s when the baseball team will take the field for fall practice later this month. The season opener for 2010 will have the Gaels taking the field for the first time in late February.