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Former Kofa baseball star begins career at Bethune Cookman

Enrique Porchas For four years, former Kofa High School third baseman Enrique Porchas (Class of 2017) heard all about what Division 1 college baseball was like from head coach Richy Leon.

“Coach was always telling us stories about Arizona State (Leon’s alma mater),” Porchas said. “It sounded amazing. It was inspiring, honestly. He was nothing but supportive and positive and believed in me the whole time.”

That belief, a .321 career batting average and stellar defense in 103 games at Pima Community College, earned Porchas a shot to experience college baseball at the highest level as well.

On Monday, Jan. 13, the two-time Junior College All-Conference member, will begin his first semester at Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he’s expected to suit up as the team’s starting third baseman this spring.

“That’s what I was hoping for. I kept working hard and focused on getting better every day and doing what I needed to do to help my team win,” said Porchas, who earned a full athletic scholarship. “It’s going to be a new experience. The coaches were enthusiastic about me, and really sounded like the wanted me; sold me.”

In a way, Porchas’ performance at Pima sold himself. He thrived, compiling 46 RBI and scoring 74 runs in two seasons and showed improvement from year-to-year. In 2019, he committed just four errors in 52 games, splitting time between both corner infield spots and the outfield and upped his batting average to .335.  

“Enrique was a perfect example of a student-athlete,” said Leon, who is entering his 16th year at the helm of the Kofa program. “He was a pleasure to coach and be around. He is a student of the game and always strived to get better and put in the hard work to get better and accomplish his goals.”

Porchas said his time at Kofa, from his bond with teammates to working out with then-Assistant Coach Gabe Ortiz at 6 a.m., is something that will always stick with him. They had fun, throwing alley-oops to one another on a mini basketball hoop in the home dugout, coining nicknames, and, of course, winning. The team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III state playoffs in 2016, Porchas’ junior season, before a heartbreaking late-inning loss to Mingus Union. The following year, he helped the Kings to 11 wins in their first 14 games and another playoff berth.

“We feel extremely proud and excited for Enrique,” Leon added. “It is so neat to see him getting rewarded for his dedication in the sport he loves and getting to experience this while also getting his education.”

Bethune Cookman’s baseball season begins Friday, Feb. 14 with a three-game weekend series against Alabama A&M University at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, which rests on the banks of the Halifax River less than a mile from the Atlantic Coast. The Wildcats finished 2019 with a 17-38 record and last produced a winning season in 2017. Games can be live streamed on BCU’s official athletic website: https://bcuathletics.com/watch/?Archive=2276&type=Live

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org