Baseball Lions' Team Review
Upgrade evidence: See the Numbers
Crouching Lions eye 2013 season
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- This spring the Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team made unquestionable strides that point positively towards the future.
The Lions improved from 10-30 a year ago to 15-27.
The statistical comparisons reveal ever greater progress in 70% of the ten major offensive and defensive areas.
The recognition went beyond Waxahachie, as coaches in the Red River Athletic Conference made similar observations about the team and first-year Head Coach Jonathan Shockley.
Rocke Musgraves, at LSU-Shreveport (48-4), the NAIA’s #1 ranked team, said “The biggest difference that I saw in this year’s team (compared to last year’s team) was the talent,” Musgraves stated. “This team had more tools to work with.”
“I felt that this year’s SAGU team, in two of the games (in the three-game series), was one or two hits away or maybe just one play away from winning. I think that they are a lot closer than they were (before).”
“(Jon) seems like a good man with Christ in his heart and I was really impressed with that,” he quipped. “Anytime you have that going for you, good things are more likely to happen. It will be interesting to see the (recruits) he brings in over the next few years.”
Texas College (27-22-1) finished second to LSU-Shreveport. Their skipper, Freddy Rodriguez, who went 2-44 in his first season in Tyler six years ago, said that “Coach Shockley did a great job this year with the Lions Baseball team.”
“The improvement is evident. I look for him to bring Southwestern into a new era. The team played hard and showed good sportsmanship. I believe he’s committed to building things there and I look forward to seeing him add onto all that he’s accomplished this year.”
Connecting the Dots
SAGU’s record could have eclipsed the .500 mark, which would have been the first in school history, had they been able to play the (rained-out) home series against Huston-Tillotson University (6-37) and pull-out some of their five one-run losses.
The 2011 team had just one one-run setback.
Southwestern also had four games with LeTourneau University (15-23) cancelled to weather.
As a team, this year’s Lions held opponents under 10 runs in 30 of their games, compared to the 2011 club’s 18 times.
That means the opposition reached double-figures only 12 times this spring after allowing double-digits 22 times a year before.
Closer evaluation reveals that SAGU restricted the enemy to 5 runs or less in 21 games, posting a 15-6 mark in the process. That compares very favorably to only 11 times and a 7-4 record in 2011.
Another good litmus test is the way teams finish the season.
In their final 10 games, the Purple Pride was 4-6, scoring 46 runs while allowing 46. The team was playing hard and well through the finale at Texas College.
In 2011 the ballclub faded in a 2-8 stretch run, scoring 30 and surrendering 87 runs.
SAGU Sales Pitch
Collectively, the squad improved in all five major pitching areas, rising from the basement to the middle or higher in the RRAC;
ERA – Earned Run Average
2012 5.27 (6th in RRAC). 2011 7.38 (9th).
Opponent’s Batting Average against SAGU Pitchers
2012 .274 (4th in RRAC). 2011 .300 (7th).
2012 7.76 per game (3rd in RRAC). 2011 9.62 (7th).
2012 4.31 per game (3rd in RRAC). 2011 4.38 (9th).
Batters who were hit by a pitch showed significant progress, dropping from 81 to 43.
Batters Struck Out
2012 5.50 (6th in RRAC). 2011 4.45 (10th).
The Crack of the Bat
The collaborative efforts of this year’s Lions while at-bat showed modest increase, upgraded in two of five groupings;
2012 .284 (4th in RRAC). 2011 .280 (10th).
2012 3.57 per game (9th in RRAC). 2011 4.71 (10th).
2012 .347 on 55 extra-base hits (9th in RRAC). 2011 .382 on 80 XBH (10th).
2012 4 (10th in RRAC). 2011 14 (11th).
2012 94 (3rd in RRAC at 2.24 per game). 2011 44 (11th at 1.05).
Upon Closer Examination
SAGU had eight returning batters from 2011. Most all of them improved their batting average. Collaboratively, their BA climbed from .255 to .277 this year.
New players managed to rack up a .289 BA with 188 hits compared to 136 by the lettermen.
On the mound, five veterans from the 2011 unit went 6-10 this year after going 3-19 a year ago.
Comparisons also showed that this year’s team was nearly even with opponents in hits, rapping 324 while permitting 338. In 2011 the Lions were credited with 346 hits to the enemies’ 447.
The pitching staff surrendered 87 extra-base hits this year after suffering 122 in 2011.
Southwestern will be announcing the 2013 recruiting class over the next few months. Coach Shockley will target pitching, outfielders, a third baseman and some added power at the plate.
After a decade of being in the red, the Lions clearly moved towards a finish in the black.