Baseball Lions host Central for 4 games
Coach Jon Shockley's "Shout Out"
Seven questions about the team; one about the Super Bowl
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- On the heels of their three-game sweep of Hillsdale College last weekend, Southwestern Assemblies of God University will host a pair of doubleheaders this weekend at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
Central Christian College (Kansas) will take on the Lions in a 4:00pm twin bill on Friday, followed by a pair on Saturday that will begin at high noon. (Weather forecast listed below)
The WSC is located on Broadhead Road, just north of 287, across from the Whataburger and Show Biz theatres. The diamond is situated in the far corner of the complex. Protected seating as well as concessions and restrooms are available. Admission is free to the general public.
The sweep of Hillsdale was the first time in at least four years that SAGU took a three-game set from anyone. Last year they won a pair of series (vs. Hillsdale and Jarvis Christian), 2-1, and won two-in-a-row on two occasions.
In 2010 they were able to win back-to-back games just once. The year before, in 2009, they topped Paul Quinn College, 2-1, and had a pair of three-game win streaks – but no 3-game sweeps.
SAGU-CCC series subplot
The storyline for the Central Christian series starts at the top. The Lions’ new head coach, Jon Shockley, held the same position with the Tigers a year ago. His assistant, Aaron Childress, took the reins of the Striped Tabbies this season.
It is the first meeting between the teams since 2006 when C-cubed defeated SAGU in Waxahachie by a 14-11 count.
Coincidentally, two players who helped the Lions rally in the late innings, catcher Tommy Benningfield (.338 batting average that season) and third baseman Derek Fortner (.340), are still part of the Southwestern sports family today.
Benningfield is an Assistant Coach under Shockley and Fortner’s wife, Mandy, is the Head Coach for the SAGU women’s soccer team.
Coach Shockley will continue to utilize the early season, non-conference games to solidify his line-up and to provide experience for back-ups. Read his comments below in this week’s installment of Shockley’s Shout Out.
The Tigers began the season by coming up short during four-games in New Orleans against Loyola University. CCC competes in the NAIA in the 6-team Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference.
McPherson, Kansas is home to Central Christian College. With a population of 13,155, it is consistently named one of America’s 100 best 'small towns.' The city is named after Union General James Birdseye McPherson, a Civil War general. It is 55 miles northwest of Wichita in the center of the Sunflower State.
The Tigers have traveled 440 miles from McPherson to Waxahachie.
The National Weather Forecast is calling for 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Friday with a high of 74. Between 4-8pm the temperatures will drop from 72-to-60 with south-southeasterly winds around 10-12 mph. The chance of rain will increase to 60%.
Looking ahead to Saturday, which will include a noon doubleheader, conditions are expected to improve significantly. Watch for a mostly cloudy sky, though milder in the low 60’s. There is no chance of rain with winds to the north at 11 mph.
Shockley’s Shout Out to Fans
Q1) Congrats on the 3-0 weekend! Three well-pitched games, including two complete games and a no-hitter. Is it safe to say that pitching will be the area that shows the most improvement this season?
JS: There are no doubts that one of our strengths will be our pitching staff. We still had five good pitchers that did not get an opportunity to throw this past weekend. We’ve shown great improvements in our offense as well.
Q2) The Lions play a pair of home doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Who will start on the hill in the games?
JS: As of right now I’m looking at Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau, Boswell HS), Jon Savis (Canton, Tx / Canton HS), Mario Mendoza (Ft.Worth, Tx / Grambling State, Polytechnic HS) and possibly Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler JuCo, Red Oak HS) or Zack Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian, LD Bell HS) for the fourth game. All but Jon are lefties.
Q3) SAGU will be facing Central Christian College, from McPherson, the same team you were coaching last year. How will you approach these four games against many people you are friends with?
JS: My approach will be the same as with any other team; never underestimate your opponent. Give 100% effort at all times during the entire game. Central will not back down or give up, they will fight the entire game.
Q4) Aaron Childress is the new head coach of the CCC Tigers. Tell us something about him and how your friendship will affect your competitiveness?
JS: Coach Childress is very people-oriented. His ability to recruit and attract baseball players is unparalleled. Childress’ passions are a lot like mine, he loves to minister through baseball and see lives changed.
He is a coach that demands 100% effort and a “never quit” attitude. I know that Central will fight until the end because of the leadership at Central. Coach Childress is a man of character and integrity and I look forward to a good battle out on the baseball field.
Q5) The middle of the Lions defense is very solid, with Dustin Jett roaming in centerfield and the shortstop-second base combination of Jacob Spivey and Donovan Vess. What makes them so good?
JS: Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) is one of those players you wish you had in every position. He’s fast, he’s good and he is very coachable. He is a senior that has a lot of experience and a young man with great integrity.
What makes Jacob Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS) and Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College) so good is their ability to know where they are on the field. For example, they can make a great play, turn and make a good throw and make it look so easy because of their internal GPS. They both have great gloves and quick hands.
Fans can expect great plays on the field from both of these players and they will see a lot of double-plays this season.
What makes all three of these guys such good players is there selflessness. They will sacrifice their at-bat for the betterment of the team. That’s hard to find sometimes in really good athletes.
Q6) You are from Wichita, Kansas, home of the Wichita State "Shockers." Your last name is Shockley. Any coincidence? What exactly is a Shocker?
JS: Ha! I’m not sure there is any correlation between Shockers and Shockley.
The name Shocker started many years ago when Wichita State University, formerly Fairmount College, received its first mascot name about the time it received its first football coach. Tradition has it that in 1904, a football manager needed a name for the team in order to advertise Fairmount's upcoming engagement with the Chilocco Indians. He came up with Wheatshockers.
At the time, many Fairmount (WSU) football players earned tuition and board harvesting, or "shocking," wheat during the summer harvests, so the name seemed appropriate.
Q7) So far this season, who is the most serious player on the team and who is the funniest?
JS: The most serious player would have to be Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute). He is intense, a competitor and loves playing the game.
The funniest would have to be Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Harker Hts HS). Chris will make a statement, sometimes in a serious situation that makes you laugh and sometimes eases the tension.
BONUS Q: Who do you think will win the Super Bowl in Indianapolis this Sunday night?
JS: The New York Giants!