SAGU rates high for English
Lions add pair in Gatesville duo
Baseball, spiritual atmosphere a hit for recruit
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Like a popular commercial about product bundling, a strategy that involves combining items in a package deal, head coach Jonathan Shockley signed a pair of baseball players from the same high school. Only there was no puppy as an incentive!
On the same day Southwestern Assemblies of God University inked Micah Thompson, his Gatesville High School teammate Tyler English, an outfielder, signed his national letter of intent.
The six-footer enjoyed a superior senior campaign for the 18-8 Hornets. Listing Abilene, Texas as his hometown, he earned First Team All-District 19 (Class 3-A) as a senior, as well as being selected on the 2012 All-Area First Team.
English was the Hornets’ Most Valuable Player and a Co-Captain this year, capping his fourth varsity lettering season.
SAGU expects both Thompson, an infielder, and English, who roams the expanses of centerfield, to compete for starting berths or bid for playing time as freshmen when fall camp begins in September.
The two month-long camp helps set the line-up and the team attitude heading into January, when the club resumes practicing.
English swung a very reputable bat for Gatesville head coach, Graig Keeton. Hot as a fire in a pepper mill, he hit .361 and drove in 22 runs as the sting in the Hornets attack.
Eleven doubles and six triples indicate his power in the alleys. His .639 slugging percentage was further proof. He hit a pair of grand slams during his prep career.
“Tyler provided more than just runs for us this year,” Coach Keeton said. “He worked hard and gave us everything he had. His leadership set an example for our younger guys to follow.”
“He grew into a great baseball player and a terrific young man in his four years here. His baseball tools will be hard to replace,” the Hornets skipper continued.
“I know he will do great things at SAGU.”
Fueled by the clutch-hitting English, the Hornets reached double-figures eight times and averaged 6.85 runs per game. Gatesville, about 40-miles west of Waco, vaulted to a 13-2 start during another successful season.
Bringing pitching experience as a left-hander, English was known for having a hose in centerfield.
His arm-strength and glove work, combined with his bat, could put him in the mix for one of three openings in the Lions outfield. Starters Dustin Jett (Patterson, La), Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx) and Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM) all graduated.
English had a .950 fielding percentage on a team that yielded just 3.92 runs per game. Only three times in 26 outings did the Hornets allow an opponent to reach double figures.
“SAGU provides what other schools could not,” English pointed out. Mainly, “…a good, solid Christian atmosphere. That was the key for me.”
“I wanted to commit to a place where I could grow spiritually as well as athletically. I am convinced that SAGU is that place,” he continued.
“I’m really excited about playing for Coach Shockley for the next four years.”
The son of Tim and Terri, Tyler has two siblings; brother T.J. (24) and sister Taliah (16).
While his colleague (Micah Thompson) loves to sing, Tyler is the youth worship leader at Coryell Community Church in Gatesville.
English and Thompson join pitchers Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx) and Sal Rico, Jr. (Houston) among the Lions' initial recruits. More will follow this week.
About SAGU baseball
SAGU, which begins its eleventh season in January, is a dual Division I member in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
They compete in the Red River Athletic Conference, which has 15 schools from four states, including the NAIA’s #1 ranked team.