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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 25 winning seasons at Wallace State, advancing to the postseason in 25 of 27 years.
In 2016, Wallace State baseball qualified for another postseason under Putman, advancing to the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 quarterfinals and finishing with a 34-25 record. Wallace State was the tournament runner-up in 2015.
Wallace State had sophomores Stephen Dobbs, Turner Vincent and Garrett Suchey each receive 2016 Southeastern District/ACCC-Region 22 recognition.
Dobbs was named the ACCC North top catcher after serving as one of Wallace State’s most consistent bats all season. Dobbs hit .360 with three homers and 45 RBIs. He was also among the league leaders in doubles.
Vincent was named one of three outfielders on the ACCC North team after hitting above .300 with six homers and 45 RBIs.
Additionally, Dobbs and Vincent were each named to the ACCC/Region 22 all-tournament team as freshmen when Wallace State finished conference runner-up.
On the mound, Suchey was Wallace State’s ace after recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2014. Suchey, a Mortimer Jordan product, was named to the ACCC North team after finishing with a 7-3 record and an ERA of 2.55.
Wallace State was also led offensively in 2016 by freshman Cole Collins and sophomore first baseman Lance Cleveland.
On the mound, Will Eiland (2.32), Garrett Suchey (2.60), Blake Schilleci (3.03) and Jesse Scott (3.19) all pitched more than 50 innings and registered ERA’s under 3.30.
Wallace State sophomores in 2016 were Dobbs, Vincent, Cleveland, Suchey, Eiland, Darien Prewett, Chris Steele, Lane Wallace, Jansen Acton, Ryan Goodman, Gerrio Rahming, Andrew Plunkett, Lane Meyer, Brantley Ballenger and Wes Crawford.
Putman has been the steady hand behind Wallace State’s baseball success over nearly 30 years.
Putman, who surpassed the 900-win milestone in 2014, has compiled a 973-450 record in 27 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.
Putman, originally from Birmingham, has coached 33 Wallace State players who have continued their careers professionally, including Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, a four-time All-Star and the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year, Milwaukee Brewers 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 2015, Wallace State pitcher Chad Smith became the third Wallace State player in four years under Putman to be drafted by a major league club. Smith was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, but decided to join the Ole Miss Rebels 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.
Chad Shannon, formerly a head coach at Vinemont and Tuscaloosa County, completed his second season as a Wallace State assistant in 2016, while Luke Satterfield completed his fourth year.
For more information on Wallace State baseball, contact Coach Putman at 256-352-8247 or email Randy.Putman@WallaceState.edu.