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The Wallace State baseball program, which has former players succeeding in the major leagues, continues to be a force in the state and on the national level under NJCAA Hall of Fame head coach Randy Putman. Since his arrival to Hanceville in 1990, Putman has recorded 26 winning seasons at Wallace State, advancing to the postseason in 26 of 28 years.
In 2017, Wallace State baseball put together one of its best seasons in a decade, finishing with a 46-13 record and earning the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) North Division crown. The Lions opened the season winning 27 of their first 32 games.
The 2017 season marked another impressive milestone for coach Putman as he reached his 1,000th victory at Wallace State with a win over Calhoun on March 26. Putman, who has been the steady hand behind Wallace State’s baseball success for nearly three decades, has compiled a 1,019-463 record (.688 winning percentage) in 28 seasons at Wallace State. Putman has guided his teams to seven Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) state championships, six Southeastern Regional Championships and six World Series appearances on the NJCAA Division I level.
Behind Wallace State’s success in 2017 were a handful of impressive individual accomplishments. Sophomore infielder/catcher Billy Reed was named a 1st-team All-ACCC/Region 22 selection after hitting over .360 with five homers, 33 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Sinquefield was one of the team’s top hitters all season and finished with an average over .300 and with a team-high 60 RBIs.
Rivera, who was teammates with Sinquefield at Smith’s Station High School, served as Wallace State’s pitching ace, finishing with a 7-2 record and ERA slightly under 2.00.
Ford led Wallace State with 10 home runs.
Additionally, Kolby Robinson, Austin Triplett, Dalton Cobb and Kevin Bryant – all freshmen – each batted over .280 with at least 100 at bats in 2017.
On the mound, sophomore Jesse Scott led the Lions in strikeouts. Scott, Rivera, Blake Schilleci, Braxton Light, Neal Collins and Peyton Hayes each registered ERA’s under 3.00. The pitching staff had a collective ERA of 3.11 in 2017, good for 8th in the NJCAA ranks. They also combined on 11 shutouts.
Wallace State sophomores in 2017 were Reed, Scott, Schilleci, Light, Cole Collins, Neal Collins, Hayes, Maison Goodwin, Seth McWaters, Jonathan Smith, Weston Bonner and Jordan Simpson.
Putman, originally from Birmingham, has coached 33 Wallace State players who have continued their careers professionally, including Chicago White Sox left-hander Derek Holland, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, a five-time All-Star and the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year, Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jake Elmore, former MLB pitcher Graham Godfrey, recently of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and Zelous Wheeler, who is now playing in professionally in Japan, but, in 2014, became the fifth former Wallace State player in six seasons to make his MLB debut. Putman also coached former major league outfielder Terry Jones, who played with the Montreal Expos and Colorado Rockies.
In 2016, Wallace State pitcher Garrett Suchey became the fourth Wallace State player in five years under Putman to be drafted by a major league club. Suchey was drafted by the Miami Marlins, but decided to join the Alabama Crimson Tide program.
Putman’s storied career has resulted in him being named the ACCC Baseball Coach of the Year in 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. He was also inducted into the Alabama Junior College Hall of Fame in 1991, the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006, the Alabama Coaches Hall of Fame in January 2009 and the Cullman County Hall of Fame in 2013.
Before coaching in Hanceville, Putman compiled a 152-28 career record at Tate High School in Pensacola, Fla., where he won two Class 4A state championships and coached former big leaguers Jay Bell and Travis Fryman. Putman played collegiately at Jacksonville State, earning All-Conference honors, and played professionally for three years with the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres.
For more information on Wallace State baseball, contact Coach Putman at 256-352-8247 or email Randy.Putman@WallaceState.edu.