Elles, Lions savor sweet win
SAGU avenges loss in opener with rout
Solid pitching, 15-hits, Elles bomb in nightcap
McKINNEY, Texas -- It was as sweet as a candy-dipper’s handshake.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team earned a split of a doubleheader with Dallas Christian College on Tuesday, pounding the Crusaders in a 15-2 triumph. It avenged a 5-4 defeat in the opener when they surrendered three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
SAGU, now 12-23 overall, will return to action this weekend when the University of the Southwest (Hobbs, NM) visits for a three-game set at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. The schedule has been adjusted to allow the Mustangs (15-25 record) extra travel time (415 miles) on Saturday.
The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday. The first pitch is set for 4:00pm (CST), with the nightcap beginning twenty-minutes after Game One. Saturday, April 14, is Senior Day. Prior to the noon start the Lions will honor their nine seniors (listed below).
The Lions pitching rotation for the series has yet to be announced, though senior Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau University, Boswell HS) could get the nod on Saturday.
The National Weather Service is calling for a mostly cloudy sky on Friday with a high of 78 and a zero percent of precipitation.
Saturday is similar though scattered thunderstorms have just a 20% chance. Windy conditions on both days are expected, with southerly breezes gusting between 16-18 mph.
Game One: Botched DP proves costly
The Lions took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the last inning, using RBI’s by Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College, Lake Worth HS) and Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) and cashing in on Crusader miscues.
Closer Tim Kolczak (San Antonio, Tx / F.E.A.S.T., Taft HS) lost the first two hitters on five and six pitch walks, setting up the Saders’ rally. He recovered quickly, getting a fly out to leftfielder Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State University, Polytechnic HS) and a double-play ground ball to shortstop Jake Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS).
Spivey bobbled the ball, and then tossed to Vess at second for a force-out. The relay to Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler Junior College, Red Oak HS) appeared in time, but the umpire’s albatross-like signal ruled otherwise.
The missed call became an albatross around SAGU’s neck.
Instead of glad-handing a 4-2 triumph, Jonathan Perea hit an RBI double just beyond the reach of a diving Jett. Designated Hitter Rusty Hensel (Riley’s younger brother) lined an 0-1 pitch to rightcenter as two runs dashed home.
Morgan, Southwestern’s ace, went the first six innings, surrendering just five hits (only one to the top four hitters), and two earned runs. He struck out six, five of them swinging. The lanky southpaw walked one and hit two batters.
Kolczak, who needs one save to become the all-time leader, took the loss. It was the first earned runs against him this season.
Game Two: Elles, Froelich, Worrell star
The Lions bounced back to rout Dallas Christian with a 15-hit, seven walk attack. They also swiped five bases in six attempts. Coach Jon Shockley’s troops scored quickly and often. An eight-run fourth gave them a commanding 11-0 lead.
The big blast was a gargantuan, 2-run homer to Ellis County by freshman Elles. It followed a leadoff double by Taylor Froelich (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit West HS) to start the decisive fourth frame.
Elles’ yard work on an 0-2 delivery had Homer Simpson stamped on it from the start. The pitcher said “D’oh!”
Vess collected three hits and two RBI’s, while Jett, Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian HS), Mendoza, Froelich (FRAY-lik), and Elles racked up two apiece.
Three substitutes combined to get four at bats with Kevin Barnes (Weatherford, Tx / Brewer HS) and Adam O’Banion (Peoria, Az / Raymond S Kellis HS) going 1-for-1 and scoring in the seventh.
The outburst was all that left-hander Zach Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian College, LD Bell HS) needed in lifting his record to 2-1. He fired four innings allowing only a pair of hits and an unearned run. Worrell sat down three on strikes and walked one.
Relievers Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) and Daniel Reinhardt (Abilene, Tx / Vancouver Christian HS) entered the game intent on serving high cheese.
Like the instructions given from trainer Mickey Goldmill to fictitious boxer Rocky, SAGU’s Rockie ate lightning and spat nails.
Facing two runners on base and no outs in the fifth, the freshman struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in order. Rhino came in the sixth and whiffed the first two men he faced, as the duo had five straight batters choking on splinters.
The Lions face Arlington Baptist College in a Tuesday (April 17) doubleheader at Grand Prairie’s Quik Trip Park.
There remains a chance that team officials will announce the rescheduling of two rained-out series against Huston-Tillotson University and LeTourneau University.
SAGU is still hunting for a berth in the NCCAA’s Central Regional, May 3-5. The National Christian College Athletic Association venue will be held in Denver. At stake is a bid to Nationals in Cincinnati, May 16-19.
2012 SAGU Lions Seniors
Dustin Jett* (Patterson, La / Patterson HS)
Trevor Schexneider (Elizabethtown, Ky / Elizabethtown HS)
Ben Chavez* (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian HS)
Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State University, Polytechnic HS)
Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS)
Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau University, Boswell HS)
Dominic Denney (Medford, Ore / North Eugene HS, La Cueva HS)
Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Harker Heights HS)
Tim Kolczak* (San Antonio, Tx / F.E.A.S.T., Taft HS)