MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011
Palace Signs with Washington Nationals
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Baseball) – Former Florida Tech catcher Sam Palace signed a free agent contract with the Washington Nationals last week.
He is slated to report to their Single-A team, the Hagerstown Suns, in Hagerstown, Md. Expected to join the former Panther is the organization’s highly touted prospect, Bryce Harper.
“We’re very proud of Sam and happy that he will get the chance to continue pursuing his dream of playing professional baseball,” Tech head coach Greg Berkemeier said. “He’s worked extremely hard to go from an undrafted free agent to becoming a part of an affiliated organization. He was a major part of our program for three years, and I cannot say enough about him as a person and as a player. He has a tremendous work ethic, so we’re not surprised that he was able to overcome the obstacles to get the opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Palace is the second Florida Tech baseball player to sign with a major league organization since 2007. Former right-handed pitcher Mike Piazza signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels in June 2009.
After earning his communication degree, the 6-1, 210-pound catcher from Clarkston, Mich. signed a professional contract with the Space Coast Surge, based locally in Cocoa, in October 2009.
He spent the past two years as a Spring Training bullpen catcher for the Washington Nationals before inking a deal with the Amarillo Dillas of the United League Baseball. With the Dillas, he batted .255 with 13 doubles and 24 RBIs. As the team’s catcher, he was nearly flawless as he committed only one error.
Before suiting up for the Panthers, he helped Grand Rapids Community College earn a trip to the NJCAA Division II National Championship in his freshman season. By the time he concluded his collegiate career, he was a three-year starter for Florida Tech, posting a career batting average of .287. In his senior year alone, he notched eight home runs and 37 RBIs. He also contributed behind the plate, throwing out nearly 52 percent of would-be base stealers.