Former Bearcat Blake Voyles looking ahead to the MLB Draft after final season at UNF

Published 3:19 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

As soon as Blake Voyles relaxed, his opponents became uncomfortable.

Voyles, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound former Bainbridge High School standout, recently capped his senior baseball campaign at the University of North Florida. He batted .320 and finished second on the team in AVG & RBIs despite missing 14 early games with an ankle injury. He had 55 hits, 12 doubles, 1 triple & 3 home runs. He knocked in 37 runs, just three fewer than team leader Tanner Murphy did while playing in 56 contests for the 28-28 Ospreys of NCAA Division I’s Atlantic Sun Conference..

“Blake had a great year,” Ospreys coach Tim Parenton said. “It started clicking for him. He relaxed and believed in himself.

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“He got a lot of big clutch hits down the stretch for us and he was our leader.”  He carried this team on his shoulders.

Parenton is proud of the way Voyles finished his college career.

“I just think he is a great person,” Parenton said. “He has persevered for five years here and had a breakout year his senior year. He caught some for us, he played first base, he DH’ed — he just did a little bit of everything for us — and ended up being first-team A-Sun All-Conference Team (as a designated hitter) and made first-team A-Sun All-Tournament Team (as first baseman).”

Voyles, who redshirted in 2014, started his career as a catcher but finished it at first base. He handled the transition flawlessly, posting a perfect fielding percentage in 149 chances.

“He played first base for about the last two months of the year,” Parenton said. “He was very good over there.”

Parenton, in his first year at the Ospreys’ helm, said Voyles’ ability to adapt made it possible for him to succeed as a senior. After returning from injury, he was inserted into the lineup at designated hitter because he didn’t have medical clearance to catch.

“I just think he was relaxed this year,” Parenton said. “The coaching staff was different and didn’t put a lot of pressure on him and gave him chances. When the players failed, they didn’t come out a lot immediately. They just played through it.

“I really think Blake being on the field a lot, growing up and becoming a leader was the difference. He did the things he knew he was capable of all along.”

Voyles, son of Coley and Lil Voyles, never had any problems in the classroom. His name has been listed regularly on the Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Honor Roll.

“He’s got his (bachelor’s) degree (in sports management) and he is getting his master’s,” Parenton said. “All that goes into being a college athlete.”

Parenton said Voyles didn’t limit his leadership efforts to the field and classroom.

“He does a lot of community service,” Parenton said. “Anything that comes up, he will volunteer.”

Despite having a degree in hand, Voyles hopes to continue his baseball career professionally. The 2018 Major League Baseball Draft is June 4-6 and can be viewed on MLB Network and