Athletic News

Opening Day at home Thursday at noon

Pitching staff, depth to carry new-look ballclub

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  There is a great deal of excitement that comes with the start of athletic seasons; the first kickoff or jump-ball or the invitation to “Start your engines.” Perhaps none exceeds the air across the nation on Opening Day of a new baseball campaign.

The 'hope that springs eternal' is rampant among baseball teams across the land.

That includes the campus of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, just twenty-five miles south of Dallas.

SAGU opens the 2013 college baseball season this weekend with a pair of matinee doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday against Hillsdale College (Ok). Both twinbills will begin at high noon.

The Weather Channel says to expect temperatures around 66 on Friday with a partly cloudy sky. Saturday, January 26, the setting should be cloudy and 57.

This season the Lions will play a large number of home games on their new, refurbished ballpark on campus. Others will take place on diamond #7 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.

Head Coach Jon Shockley and assistants Tommy Benningfield, Andrew Rickman and Derek Fortner, will lead a young squad in which 26 of the 31 players on the active roster are underclassmen.

SAGU experiences Arms Race

The biggest area of improvement on this year’s team appears to be pitching. The squad is clearly deeper and has enjoyed a solid class of recruits for the mound.

As for the rotation, Coach Shockley has listed the four who have gotten the nod for the Hillsdale series. It has an obvious local flavor, with three former Red Oak Hawks taking the hill;

FRIDAY – Game One  (12 Noon)
Jarrod Pisors (Dallas, Tx / Red Oak HS). The 6’7 freshman is a right-hander who works the zone and has a clearly improved fastball.

FRIDAY – Game Two  (Estimated 2:30-3pm)
Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS). The southpaw has a stronger arm, plenty of confidence and an insatiable desire to win. Shockley says he could be the staff workhorse.

SATURDAY – Game Three   (High Noon)
 Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS). The 6’1 freshman with a solid build delivers strikes with an amped up velocity.

SATURDAY – Game Four  (Estimated 2:30-3pm)
Skyler Gilstrap (Smithville, Tx / Smithville HS). A lefty with a wide repertoire of pitches, he is a 6-foot freshman.

There are a handful of others who the staff believes could produce as a starter, including sophomore righty Jacob Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS), who has deceptive speed and moves, and Nick Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), a left-handed freshman known for his power and poise.

Two others to keep an eye on are right-handers; Nick Turley (Ovilla, Tx / Ovilla Christian), a 6’5 freshman, and Ryan McBride (Sherman, Tx / Sherman HS). At 6’1, he is another from a bumper crop of frosh.

Sophomore Rockie Davis (Sante Fe, Tx / Sante Fe HS) has been named the closer. He is 6’1 and has been a two-year starting linebacker for SAGU. He pitches with a similar mindset.

Eighteen pitchers are on this year’s roster, which is available on-line at www.sagu.edu/athletics/baseball

Anchors in the Infield

The probable starting line-up in the field starts with co-captain Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS), a junior, at catcher. He is good defensively with a very quick release. Denton has batted over .300 in each of his first two seasons.

The infield figures to have Rusty Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Dallas Christian College, Maypearl HS), a brawny sophomore at first base. He swatted six round-trippers last season as a freshman at Dallas Christian College.

Hensel is a big target and is very agile for a big man.

There are several other players battling for the position and could split time at Designated Hitter. Among them is freshman Billy Mee (Fayetteville, NC / Copperas Cove HS). He can play a number of places and lugs lumber like an axeman.

Middle infielders; 5’11 Spivey at shortstop and 5’6 freshman Micah Thompson (Waco, Tx / Gatesville HS) playing second base, could develop into a very effective combination this spring.

Spivey, who hit .318 in 39 games last year, brings quickness, a good glove and an arm that is completely in shape according Shockley. The speedy Thompson has a solid glove and will also play at short as well as pitch – though not all at the same time!

The versatile Garrett Thomas (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) will earn his early playing-time as a utility infielder. He is one of four players from one of the area’s most respected prep baseball programs.

On the hot corner is co-captain Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS). One of the most improved players on the team, the 6’2 junior had an outstanding fall at the plate, spraying the ball to all fields.

In the field he “has really stepped up,” Shockley pointed out. “He is attacking the ball at third, and is hitting liners everywhere!”

Similar to catcher and first base, the competition among backups is fierce. Winning playing time and at bats will likely make for spirited practices.

Home on the Outfield Range

The outfield looks very secure.

Scheduled to start in left is Elles (pronounced like Ellis). At 5’11, 225-lbs, the stout sophomore reads the ball well off the bat, is smart and has a laser. He swung a .274 bat in 2012.

Roaming the expanses in center is Davis. His range is propelled (6.5 in the 60) with velocity and the ability to make the spectacular catch.

When he is on the mound, the Lions can count on freshmen Colten Conner (Flower Mound, Tx / Flower Mound HS) Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS).

Manning the rightfield position is Tyler English (Abilene, Tx / Gatesville HS). He has a very dependable glove and unsheathes a right-handed weapon to daring baserunners.

Lions Menu now includes 50 games

The team’s 50-game schedule is posted on-line.

SAGU announced on Thursday the addition of a single game on March 12. Shreiner University (Kerrville, Tx) visits Waxahachie for a single game that afternoon.

A member of the NCAA’s Division III, the Mountaineers compete in the American Southwest Conference.

After hosting Hillsdale this weekend, SAGU welcomes Arlington Baptist College for a three-game series next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.
 

Alumni News

SAGU alumnus creates youth ministry curriculum

SAGU alumnus creates youth ministry curriculum

Mar 07, 2014 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas — March 7, 2014 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Dustin Woodward, a former Young Alumni Award Recipient, recently launched a youth and young ...

Read more
Alumnus pastors one of 2013's Top 100 fastest growing churches in America

Alumnus pastors one of 2013's Top 100 fastest growing churches in America

Mar 07, 2014 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas — March 7, 2013 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Abram Gomez serves as the executive pastor of Valley International Christian Center (VICC) i...

Read more
SAGU alumna coordinates Waxahachie community giveaway

SAGU alumna coordinates Waxahachie community giveaway

Feb 10, 2014 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas — February. 10, 2014 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna and adjunct instructor Rebecca Manguno hosted Waxahachie Bible Church's 4th annual A...

Read more
SAGU dedicates Hagee Communication Center on Dec. 11

SAGU dedicates Hagee Communication Center on Dec. 11

Nov 19, 2013 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas — November 19, 2013 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) will dedicate the John and Diana Hagee Communication Center (HCC) on Wednesday, December 11. ...

Read more
VAR Resources employs 15 SAGU alumni

VAR Resources employs 15 SAGU alumni

Nov 12, 2013 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas — November 12, 2013 — VAR Resources President and CEO and Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Gary Sutton has employed 15 SAGU alumni over the pas...

Read more
Alumni Relations 'mugs' students during first week

Alumni Relations 'mugs' students during first week

Aug 30, 2012 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas – August 29, 2012 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) launched a new tradition Tuesday, August 28. The Alumni Relations office "mugged" hundreds of students in the ...

Read more
Alumna walks 250 miles for pro-life movement

Alumna walks 250 miles for pro-life movement

Mar 27, 2012 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, Texas – March 28, 2012 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna Carisma Reyes will walk 250 miles in 21 days with 38 other women for the “Back to Life” movement in a...

Read more
Alumnus leads opening prayer for U.S. Congress

Alumnus leads opening prayer for U.S. Congress

Dec 19, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX - December 19, 2011 - Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Bryan Thiessen was selected by Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy (18th district) to give the invocati...

Read more
Alumna to compete on “Food Network Challenge,” November 13

Alumna to compete on “Food Network Challenge,” November 13

Nov 08, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX – November 8, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna Wendy Weixel Collinsworth will appear on the Food Network Channel’s “Food Network...

Read more
Alumnus serves as youth pastor at The Potter’s House

Alumnus serves as youth pastor at The Potter’s House

Nov 07, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX – November 7, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Drew Castillo serves as “The Fire House” youth pastor at The Potter’s Hous...

Read more
Alumna serves as SMU Chi Alpha pastor

Alumna serves as SMU Chi Alpha pastor

Oct 28, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX – October 28, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna Mandy (Bass) Pathak serves alongside husband Shomik in the Chi Alpha ministry at Southern Met...

Read more
Delmer and Eleanor Guynes memorialized in dormitory

Delmer and Eleanor Guynes memorialized in dormitory

Oct 26, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX – October 26, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) memorialized Delmer and Eleanor Guynes with a wall display during the Homecoming events held on Frid...

Read more
Alumna receives Milken Educator Award

Alumna receives Milken Educator Award

Oct 18, 2011 - Alumni News

Waxahachie, TX – October 18, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Alumna Andrea Morales McKenna was presented with a Milken Educator Award on October 7, 2011. McKenna...

Read more
Eleanor Guynes Memorial Service to be streamed, Friday, May 20, 2PM

Eleanor Guynes Memorial Service to be streamed, Friday, May 20, 2PM

May 14, 2011 - Alumni News

Kind Words "Thank you Lord for a faithful servant!" Terrell Welch "Heaven just received another hero of the faith." Anita Cook "My deepest ...

Read more
Alumnus Jerrod Ramirez Serves as Federal Prison Chaplain

Alumnus Jerrod Ramirez Serves as Federal Prison Chaplain

Nov 17, 2010 - Alumni News

Alumnus Jerrod Ramirez recently became a Federal Prison Chaplain at the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado. Ramirez previously served as a navy chaplain. Jerrod and Stephanie Ra...

Read more
Alumna Brandi Lewis Trains Men's Pair Champions

Alumna Brandi Lewis Trains Men's Pair Champions

Oct 27, 2010 - Alumni News

Alumna Brandi Lewis recently produced the first elite athletes in Acrobatic Gymnastics in Texas. Men’s Pair Axel Osborne and Dylan Inserra are Senior National Team members and three-time nati...

Read more
Alumna Stephanie Graham Named Teacher of the Year

Alumna Stephanie Graham Named Teacher of the Year

Sep 28, 2010 - Alumni News

SAGU alumna Stephanie Graham was recently named Teacher of the Year for Life School in Lancaster, Texas. Graham graduated from SAGU in 2008 with a degree in Elementary Education. Graham was sel...

Read more