SFA Baseball 2012 Preview: Catchers Jarid Scarafiotti leads the catching corps after an all-conference season in 2011.
Jarid Scarafiotti hit .350 with 5 homers and 45 RBI in 2011.
Feb. 3, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Lumberjack baseball team put together a breakout season in 2012, winning a program record 37 games and coming up just one win shy of an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. This season the expectations are even higher with a veteran group poised to take the next step.
Before the 2009 season started, Jarid Scarafiotti was not even listed as one of the top two catchers on the Lumberjack roster; however, entering the 2012 season, there may be no better backstop in the Southland Conference than the 5-11, 230-pound Scarafiotti who was named to the all-SLC first team at the end of his junior campaign.
This year he will be counted on do carry an even heavier load in his senior season as the veteran presence for SFA behind the plate. The Shreveport, La., native hit .350 as a junior with five homers and 45 RBI, trailing only teammate and last year's league player of the year Bryson Myles in average and homers on the team and ranking third on the roster in RBI.
He was even better late in the year, ending the season on a career best 12-game hitting streak and hitting .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI in five games at the league tournament where the `Jacks advanced all the way to the title game.
"There are a few positions at this university that have set the tone for excellence here, and catcher is one of those," SFA head coach Johnny Cardenas said. "Jarid (Scarafiotti) is one of those reasons why we have been as successful as we have been as of late. He's a great story, basically coming out of nowhere to be where he is today, and that's a credit to how hard he has worked. He's a huge leader by example for us, and on top of that he holds his own on the field."
Even with Scarafiotti getting the majority of time behind the plate, SFA will give plenty of time to true freshman Joseph Olson (6-1, 215), a stocky catcher from Waco Robinson High School. He comes from a program filled with success as he helped lead the Rockets to a combined 63-11 record over his final two seasons and took them to the Texas Class 3A state title game as a senior in 2011.
Olson hit .420 as a junior and was named the District 19-3A MVP and followed that up with a senior season that saw him be named the district's co-offensive MVP after hitting nearly .400 once again. A first team all-state choice as a senior, Olson's Rockets finished 31-6 in 2011, falling to Kennedale High School in the Class 3A state title game.
"Joe is someone that we feel like can step right in and do a good job for us, not only as a solid offensive player, but also defensively and in handling the pitching staff even with being just a freshman," Cardenas said. "We don't expect him to come in and hit .400 like Riley (Huble) did, but we expect him to have quality at-bats and we're really excited to be able to insert a guy like Joe and not really be too far off of a guy that is an all-conference catcher."
The `Jacks will also suit up senior Adam Mann, a left-handed hitting senior backstop who transferred in from Concordia. At 6-0, 205 pounds, Mann gives Cardenas another quality option with collegiate experience to turn to behind the plate.
"I've got a lot of confidence in any of the three guys that we can put behind the plate this season," Cardenas said. "It's always a luxury to have multiple catchers who are at a quality level, but w feel that 1-3 we are very solid this year."