To say the least this has been a terrific season for Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, and thus in a roundabout way, a good season for the Chipola baseball program.
You see Bautista, who leads the majors this season with 52 homers, is a Chipola alum. This definitely his breakout season, since breaking into the majors in oh-4, the most homers he'd hit before in any season was 16. This kind of success certainly is a thrill for Jose's former coach, who is anything but surprised by it all.
Chipola Head Coach
"You know Jose was here in 2000, 2001, was an outstanding player for us. He played a little bit of right field, third base he also played short. Jose's a very talented player. He could play all over the field for us. That year we had Jonathan Swearingen who went to Ole Miss and played, he was a shortstop, he played a little shortsop as well. He also pitched, closed for us. We put him at the State Tournament, started him at the State Tournament, I think it was against St. Pete, in the semifinal game and he went a complete game in that, throws 90-95, has a great arm in the outfield, pretty much a five tool player."
As for their current relationship, well that remains strong, as well as the slugger's relationship with the Chipola program.
"You know I talked with him a couple of weeks ago down in Tampa, and this is the type kid he is, I asked him Jose are you going to make it to our alumni game this year, and he said coach if you want me back I'll be back every year. He said I'll never forget where I came from, who gave me an opportunity, who got me started in this, so we're proud of him, couldn't happen to a better guy, nicer person."
That Chipola alumni game set for the first weekend in February.