All year, JJ Sanchez was dealing on the mound.
Three up, three down. 1-2-3 inning. It didn’t matter.
Sanchez was getting the job done, so much so that he helped Southeastern University, the No. 1 NAIA baseball team in the nation, to another World Series berth. Individually, he went 5-0 with a 1.92 ERA. He also registered 65 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 37.2 innings of action, while also holding opposing batters to just a .160 average.
MLB scouts took heed. And more specifically, the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday signed him to a free agent contract.
“It means the world to me to go play at the next level,” Sanchez said. “All the hard work pays off when you dedicate yourself to it. Do the little things right and good things will happen.”
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There were several good things that happened when the lefty from Los Fresnos, Texas was on the mound. In a start against Florida Memorial, he struck out 11 of the 14 batters he faced with only one ball put into play over four innings, which assisted the Fire to clinch their fourth straight Sun Conference regular-season title. He earned the Sun Conference Pitcher of the Week because of the showing in late April.
Also, playing Westmont in the NAIA World Series, Sanchez competed in seven innings, allowing one earned run, two hits and seven strikeouts, keeping Southeastern in the tournament.
As a pitcher at Division II Texas A&M International in 2022, he had a 4.67 ERA.
Still, Southeastern was where he improved, and that means something to the pitcher.
“Southeastern was a special place for me to play at. I developed as a pitcher and a better man off the field,” Sanchez said. “I couldn’t have done it without the coaching staff that believed in me since the day I got there.”
In the coming days, Sanchez will be assigned to one of the Blue Jays minor league affiliates. Former Southeastern pitcher, Al Pesto is already in the Blue Jays farm system, Dunedin (A).
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Southeastern pitcher JJ Sanchez signs with MLB team