Vess Named Among NCCAA's Best
Freshman earns All-Regional honors
Shortstop was long on production
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association announced the 2012 All-Region Team this week and Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Donovan Vess was named to the First Team.
The talented freshman had an outstanding season that saw him anchor the infield while playing both shortstop and second base. He led the Lions in batting throughout most of the season with a steady bat that never endured a slump.
“He was very deserving of the honor,” said Head Coach Jonathan Shockley. “I am very proud of him.”
“Donovan always came to play. He’s a flat-out gamer. He works hard, plays hard and has a confidence that he backed up with production every time he laced ‘em up,” Shockley added.
“He was a standout freshman on a team with nine seniors,” he continued. “That says a lot of about the young man. He was multi-talented; at the plate, on the bases, with his glove, and in the dugout.”
Vess batted .362 while leading the team in extra-base hits (11) and slugging percentage (.472). His 29 runs batted in also topped the team. He was successful in 16-of-17 stolen base attempts. His uniform was never clean for long.
Also telling were two other figures.
The right-hander was the most difficult hitter on the team for opposing pitchers to strike-out, fanning just nine times in 127 at bats; once for every 14.1 trips to the plate.
“He’s a tough out,” quipped Shockley. “You can count on him to make contact, to put the ball in play, to hit the opposite way with runners on base. He seldom ever hit into a double play.”
Speaking of twin-killings, this year’s infield reduced the number of errors committed in 2011 and made double-plays look as easy as drawing a child's first tooth.
Behind the play of Vess, second bagger Jacob Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS) and third baseman Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), SAGU turned 22 double plays this season. A year ago the Lions made only one in 40 games.
The 2012 Pride allowed 270 runs, 103 less than the year before.
Five Lions were nominated for the Regional Team. In addition of Vess were Mario Mendoza, Dustin Jett, Jared Denton (.305) and Spivey (.318), all who hit over .300. The top three hitters are listed below.
Southwestern enjoyed a marked improvement this season in pitching, defense and in competitive play.
The second season under Coach Shockley, which will see the Lions filling the void of nine graduating seniors, is now in the middle of the recruiting season. Targeting needs, he hope to reel in pitchers, outfielders and power at the plate.
About SAGU Baseball
SAGU is a dual Division I member in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). They are one of 15 institutions who are adherents in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC).
The team will enjoy a “coming home” season next year. A new on-campus ballpark welcomes the Lions when they open fall camp. The 2013 season will commence in late January.
Off-season reports will be posted at www.sagu.edu/athletics.
Shockley expects to announce new recruits and a summer addition to the coaching staff to serve alongside Tommy Benningfield.
Top Three Cats with Bats
Season RBI Leaders – Past 7 Years