Baseball Lions start season today
SAGU hosts Hillsdale in 3-game series
Coach Shockley lists Morgan, Savis, Mendoza as starting rotation
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The new college baseball season officially begins this weekend for Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
The Lions, under new Head Coach Jonathan Shockley, will play a three-game homestand against Hillsdale Baptist College (Moore, Okla) at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. The park is located on Broadhead Street, just north of Highway 287, across from the Showbiz Theatre and the Whataburger.
The series starts today (Fri) with a solo, nine-inning game at 4:00pm. The teams will play twice on Saturday with a noon start for first of two seven-inning contests.
Expected weather calls for partly sunny skies with a high of 64 degrees. Saturday’s forecast is similar, though cooler; temperature in the low to mid 50’s. Admission is free to the general public.
Coach Shockley said the team has no significant injuries and that the line-up will remain flexible. “It will be a game to game call,” he said yesterday. “There will be some game-time decisions about some positions.”
“There are spots on the field that have starters, but nothing is set in stone,” he explained. “Everyone on the field must prove themselves day-in and day-out to keep that spot.”
Nick Morgan (Ft. Worth, LeTourneau Univ, Boswell HS), a 6’3 senior, will be on the mound today as the opening game starting pitcher. Getting the nod for Saturday will be Jon Savis (Canton, Tx / Canton HS) and Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, TX / Grambling State Univ, Polytechnic HS).
The bullpen has a host of competing arms, all battling to get on to the field. Shockley believes the relievers will “…be a very strong point in our game.”
In regards to a closer at the start of the season, look for freshman Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS). “He throws hard and has some electrifying stuff,” Shockley added.
“We also have guys that could come in and be situational type pitchers. We have enough arms on staff to do that,” which is different than in previous seasons.
The Lions figure to have a fresh, new look following last year’s 10-30 season. With a combined 23 wins over the past three seasons (23-70), Shockley will likely have more to change than the line-up.
“Each game will probably see a different line-up,” he figured on Thursday. “I want to see what the guys can do and where they can play in game situations.”
“As for opening day,” he says, “I will be looking for my veteran captains; Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) and Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian HS), to get (on-board) and steal bases to show the many young guns how college baseball is played.”
The veteran coach, who will take part in a new column, the “Shockley Shout Out,” will probably man the third base coaching position and switch assistant coaches at first base. That will include Brady James, Tommy Benningfield and Rance Melton. All three are former SAGU players.
Players and strengths heading into the 2012 debut, according to Coach Shockley, include:
Most Versatile Players: Jacob Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS), Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS)
Base Stealing Threats: Dustin Jett, Rockie Davis, Kevin Barnes (Weatherford, Tx / Brewer HS), Mario Mendoza
Best Spray Hitters: Taylor Froelich (Lee's Summit, Mo / West HS), Mario Mendoza, Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College), Ben Chavez
RBI / Power Guys: Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS), Enrique Rodriguez (Ft. Worth, Tx / Ranger Jr. College, Nolan Catholic HS), Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler Junior College, Red Oak HS)
Best Hose: Zach Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian College, L.D. Bell HS), Rockie Davis
Clemens Guy - Best Power Arm: Jon Savis
Maddux Guy - Best Control: Nic Morgan