1. ST. MARY’S RATTLERS (49-11)
Final 2012 Ranking: 4
St. Mary’s was one of the most consistent teams last season. The Rattlers were pegged as the number four team going into the season, spent the bulk of the year in the second spot and finished the campaign with a run to Cary and a fourth place finish in the final rankings. Along the way the team claimed the South Central Regional championship, won their third straight Heartland crown and their 49 wins marked the second-most in program history. Look for each of those milestone to be reached or eclipsed this season as Coach Migl welcomes back his top pitchers along, a core of solid offensive producers and a talented crop of transfers which makes the Rattlers the top team headed into 2013.
Carl O’Neal and Rene Solis are two of the top arms in the country and will lead a Rattler staff which will once again be among the national leaders for team ERA. O’Neal topped 100 strikeouts as he accumulated 101 K’s in 103 innings pitched with a 14-0 record and 2.18 ERA. He earned the Daktronics National Pitcher of the Year honors as well as a number of other pitching accolades. Solis was O’Neal’s equal, posting a 1.69 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 117.1 innings pitched and was a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award. Together the tandem accumulated 14 complete games between them. When either of them are unable to finish a game, or if Coach Migl is simply feeling like tormenting opposition even more, closer Jonathan Perez will once again be back in San Antonio. Perez had a dainty 1.04 ERA out of the bullpen and earned saves in 18 of his 28 appearances. In 34.2 innings he struckout 34 batters while only allowing 8 free passes. A highly anticipated additional to the Rattler staff is Midland College transfer Colter Bostick. Bostick was a two year starters for the Chaparrals and limited opposition to a .215 opponents’ batting average last season.
The most potent Rattler bat belongs to CF Billy Richard. The senior’s stats have improved each season and are expected to go up another notch once again. Last year Richard led the team in batting at .354 and homeruns with nine. Rejoining Richard in the lineup will be most of last year’s starting infield. 1B Brandon Bates was third on the team in hitting at.329 and 2B Mario Maldonado and 3B Ivan Sigala were cornerstones of a defense that placed in the top 10 nationally in fielding percentage. New to the lineup will be SS Derek Hamilton who transferred from Rice after serving as the Owls primary shortstop the past two seasons. Hamilton hit .248 his freshman campaign with the Owls and despite losing his stroke at the plate, continued to flourish in the field and basepaths last season. If a change in scenery can reboot Hamilton’s bat it will go along way in helping replace the bats of MP Coskinos who was drafted by Houston and graduated senior Tyler Migl.