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Star pitcher, others win scholarships at SPJC

St. Petersburg Junior College pitcher Goki Sato, an unheralded walk-on from Japan, recently capped a remarkable freshman season by signing a full scholarship for next year.

The left-hander led the Trojans in innings pitched (76) and earned run average (3.41), while compiling a 6-4 mark. Sato also notched 51 strikeouts, allowed just 35 walks and held opponents to a .233 batting average.

"(Sato) had a super year," SPJC coach Ed Davis said. "In fact, he was a key player for us. We need more like him. He did a fantastic job."

Chris Haley, a walk-on outfielder from Tarpon Springs, also has signed a full scholarship. The first-team All-Suncoast Conference outfielder and all-star posted a team-high .318 batting average.

"Our walk-ons did as well as any of our scholarship kids," said Davis, whose Trojans posted a 19-33 mark last season. "You know, up until 1979, we had nothing but walk-ons."

Two more freshmen walk-ons also have earned scholarship packages for their sophomore seasons _ first baseman Mike Clark of Plant High and right-handed pitcher Dan Stern of Connecticut. Clark, who also pitches in the Stan Musial League, was selected in the 44th round of the recent draft by the California Angels, but plans to stay with SPJC.

Davis also announced the signing of four newcomers _ left-handed pitcher Ryan Brandon of East Bay, right-handed outfielder Damion Fitzgerald of Tampa Bay Tech, left-handed first-baseman/outfielder Jeremy Wendell also of Tampa Bay Tech, and right-handed pitcher Mike Rigau of Gaither.