Salt Lake Community College has one of the best junior college athletic programs in the country. One part of that program that has earned the school some bragging rights is Bruin baseball.
In 2015, SLCC finished 37-25 overall and 19-13 in Scenic West conference play. The Bruins advanced to the Region 18 championship round but lost to College of Southern Nevada.
Despite that outcome, SLCC earned a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Western District tournament.
“I thought we really did good last season,” says SLCC pitching coach Jeremy Berg.
The Bruins were especially strong at home, posting a 19-5 win-loss record.
The club is also proving to be a launching pad for many student-athletes to make a name for themselves at four-year colleges.
Caleb Summerhays is another player from the 2015 squad that will continue their career at the next level. Summerhays returns to his hometown of Las Vegas to join the UNLV Rebels.
A large part of the success for the Bruins is the stability the coaching staff provides.
Under the lead coaching of David “DG” Nelson, the team has earned two Region 18 championships, two top-20 finishes in the NJCAA rankings and a Scenic West conference championship.
Nelson, who has been at the helm since 2004, has coached the team to their best winning percentage as well as the best win-loss record in school history.
Over 100 players have progressed to four-year schools, and 19 former Bruins have played pro ball.
Nelson receives support from the rest of the coaching staff, including assistant coach Derek Waddoups.
With the help of Waddoups, who serves as the team’s hitting coach, the Bruins led the SWAC in batting average, runs batted in and walks.
Berg cites the depth of knowledge and experience in the dugout for why he joined the coaching staff.
“I think this is definitely a good spot for me. The coaches do a great job helping me learn and advance, and as well they are great at helping the players learn the things they need,” says Berg. “A couple of really good guys.”
Before coming to SLCC in spring 2015, Berg, who also oversees the arm care programs for the pitching staff, spent six seasons in the minors, including four with the Salt Lake Bees.
The coaches recently held a training camp for prospects who wanted to improve their game. The camp was a two-day exercise for recent high school graduates and includes training on both infield and outfield basics.
Thanks to the continued success of SLCC baseball, some of these prospects could become Bruins in the near future.
More information about future training camps and SLCC baseball can be found on slccbruins.com.