Lions stings Jackets, 5-4
Vess doubles in 8th, scoring Jett
Doubleheader features impressive defensive plays
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team rallied to defeat Howard Payne University, 5-4, in eight innings to earn a split of a Tuesday night doubleheader at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
The Lions, who were shutout in the opener, 5-0, trailed in the nightcap 4-1 after four-and-one-half innings. They scored twice in the fifth before tying the game in the bottom of the seventh.
After lefthander Trevor Schexneider (Elizabethtown, Ky / Elizabethtown HS) set down the Yellow Jackets in order in the top of the eighth, SAGU won in dramatic fashion.
Kevin Barnes (Weatherford, Tx / Brewer HS) led off with a single up the middle. He was erased when Jacob Spivey’s (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS) attempt to advance him with a sacrifice bunt was turned into a double play.
With two outs and the bases begging for company, Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) ripped a single to rightfield. That brought Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College, Lake Worth HS) to the plate. The second baseman had scored the tying run in the previous inning.
Before he could get a whack at the winning RBI, Jett moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Jackets reliever Dustin Kelver’s next offering was pounded down the rightfield line for the game-winner by Vess. He rip-snorted a line-drive that eluded the first baseman’s leap as well as the rightfielder’s all-out dive as the ball landed fair and rolled all the way to the fence. Jett darted in to score the decisive run.
Afterwards, a jubilant Vess, who went 5-for-7 in the twinbill, was all smiles. He said the pitch was a curveball. He certainly straightened it out!
“It was great to be a part of a game like this,” said a pleased Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) after the game. “We battled hard to the finish.”
The Jackets looked as though they would thwart the comeback when they made several outstanding defensive plays in the sixth. Hensel was gunned down on a perfect relay after he unloaded on a would-be triple to deep left-center.
Later in the same inning, Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian HS), who had gotten a great jump, was nailed at third while advancing on a single to right by Barnes.
Needing a run to tie in the bottom of the seventh, Vess hit a frozen rope to right-center. Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State University, Polytechnic HS) pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler Junior College, Red Oak HS) stroked a 2-2 pitch into the gap between first and second to put runners on the corners.
The stage was set for Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS). The sophomore catcher, trying to hit behind the runner to produce the equalizer, managed to muscle a 2-0 pitch beyond the reach of the first baseman into shallow right to level the scoreboard at 4-4.
Schexneider (2-0) pitched the final four innings, surrendering an unearned run in the fifth. He was touched for a lone hit, walked three and fanned three, including two in the top of the eighth.
Game One Summary
The Lions were blanked in the opener by Reed Klose (pronounced KLO-see), a 6-foot-1, 230-pound righthander. He held the Lions to four hits through six innings, walking one and sitting down three on strike-outs.
Carlton Brown pitched the last frame. Hensel tripled down the first base line with two outs for the Lions’ fifth hit, though he was left stranded.
The Jackets, who are members of the NCAA Division II’s American Southwest Conference, collected only six hits, but combined them with five walks and timely hits to take the opener. They broke open a 2-0 game with two in the sixth and one in the seventh when they assembled three hits, including a double and a triple.
Web Gems: Addicted to Glove
Southwestern turned in several memorable plays in the field, including two sensational catches by senior "Chavo" in rightfield. The first was a diving catch in foul territory in the first game. The second was a horizontal plunge of a sinking liner in shallow right in the second game.
Jett made a pair of running snares in centerfield, including a leaping, lunging grab of a shot in the gap.
Third baseman Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha Omega Academy), a 6’5 strapping sophomore, gloved a bounder and fired to first, making it look routine.
Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) showed more than glovework when he scooped a well-hit grounder at first in the nightcap. With one out and a runner on third, he looked to third to freeze the runner, and then spun to get the batter at first.
Two steps later “Chef” pivoted and fired a dart that turned the runner to toast at home. Denton, who applied the tag, had thrown out base-stealer to start the inning.
Perhaps the play that drew the most response from the fans on a cool, windswept night came in the second game.
Ryan Abbott, who had doubled in the first inning, blistered a 2-2 Schexneider pitch down the third baseline. David McLain (Cleveland, Okla / Cleveland HS), a cat-quick freshman, gloved the meteor with a backhanded stab, and, with one knee on the clay, fired to Elles at first.
Lions and Wildcats, March 9-10
SAGU, now 10-12 overall, has a three-game set planned for the in East Texas. They will meet Wiley College (3-12) for a single game at 4:00pm in Marshall on Friday, March 9.
The teams will play twice on Saturday, starting with a noon first-pitch.
The Lions will be off next week for Spring Break, before returning to action on March 20 with a doubleheader in Brownwood, Texas at Howard Payne.
Their next home game is slated for March 21 against Manhattan Christian College (Kan).