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Bulldogs outfielder Rodriguez signs on to play at Mercer

Posted on Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

Briana Rodriguez, the center fielder and leadoff hitter for the St. Cloud, will be able to focus on learning opposing pitchers’ repertoires and starting the Bulldogs offense this season — college is taken care of.

Rodriguez, with parents Ralph and Vicky, and St. Cloud Coach Ray Whobrey, signs a National Letter of Intent to play at Mercer (Ga.) University in 2019.

Rodriguez, a four-year varsity player for Coach Ray Whobrey’s Bulldogs, signed her National Letter of Intent Nov. 7 to play for Mercer University as part of the Bears’ 2018 signing class. She is part of a seven-player signing class brought in by Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo and signed on Nov. 7.

She said she chose Mercer out of a field of Florida schools like Flagler College and Warner University after visiting the Macon, Ga., campus.

“I just fell in love with the campus, the coaches and the rest of the program,” Rodriguez said. “I have big academic plans, and the school has the medical program I want to get into.”

Her parents, mother Vicky Rodriguez and father Ralph Rodriguez, for whom she plays for on the Orlando Intensity travel-ball team, joined St. Cloud Coach Ray Whobrey at her signing.

Rodriguez helped lead the Bulldogs to last year’s District 8A-10 championship and the regional semifinals with her play in the outfield and on the base paths. She stole 32 bases, a school record, and Coach Ray Whobrey said she’ll likely break the career mark of 84 this year.

“She’s a great kid on and off the field,” the coach said. “The first thing that pops in my mind about Bri is a great athlete with lots of speed.

“She’s helped us win the District and OBC championship three years in a row and she plans on making this year four in a row. Not only is she a very good athlete but she is a very good teammate and leader. She will accomplish a lot in her college career not just on the field but in life itself. Mercer is definitely getting a good one.”

Showcasing that speed, Rodriguez also runs the 400 meters for the Bulldogs’ track team (when it’s not a game day) and is currently part of the St. Cloud girls weightlifting team.

“Right now I’m working to get stronger and even faster so I’ll be ready for that next level,” she said. “And I’m already excited for my senior season here. We’re going to do big things again this year, I can feel it, and I’m ready to be one of the leaders on this team.”

Mercer, located about 300 miles north of St. Cloud and 85 miles south of Atlanta, plays in the Southern Conference.