Baseball Lions sign tall order
SAGU secures 6'5 Nick Turley
Former Ovilla Christian hurler earned All-District
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Keeping his promise to keep an eye out for pitchers this off-season, Southwestern Assemblies of God University head baseball coach Jonathan Shockley has now signed nine recruits, six of them hurlers.
When Nicholas Turley penned his signature to a national letter of intent, Coach Shockley believes this student-athlete has his share of promise.
“Nick has size, a good skill set and the latent makings to blossom,” the second year skipper said recently. “He’s had good coaching and I believe he’ll continue to emerge.”
Turley is a 6-foot-5 right-hander whose up-and-coming talent was on display at a local, small private school; Ovilla Christian School. After graduating two years ago he has studied at Dallas’ Christ For the Nations Institute.
Though CFNI does not have an intercollegiate athletic program, Turley never gave up on baseball.
“I’ve stayed in shape,” he said, “and have been working every week this year doing bullpen sessions at Gear Up baseball in Waxahachie.”
His audition with Coach Shockley revealed enough talent and potential to warrant an invitation to suit up in purple and gold.
Turley, whose torque at 6’5 is an effective advantage, throws an array of pitches including a two-seamer and a slider. In short, his strength on the hill is throwing strikes.
At Ovilla, under the tutelage of former SAGU basketball player Dustin Robinson, he pitched and played centerfield. His stats as a senior were impressive; a 4-3 record and a 1.73 earned run average.
In 36 innings pitched he walked only 15 batters whiffed 58 and allowed just 21 hits.
Turley toted a .396 batting average and a .475 on-base percentage.
His performance helped propel the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Class 2A Eagles to a winning season.
He also earned First Team All-District recognition.
“I’m very excited to be playing baseball again! I am looking forward to working hard and contributing to the team,” Turley said this week.
He plans to study business at SAGU.
A native of Dallas, Nick is the son of David and Dawn Turley, and has a sister; Lindsey.
Coach Shockley expects to sign several other players as the new-look Lions bolster their line-up.
Competition for positions this fall should fuel the team's climb towards their goal for post-season life next spring. He is currently on the road recruiting out of state.
About SAGU baseball
Southwestern has been establishing a young baseball program for a decade. The Lions are in the hunt to contend for their first winning record and to qualify for post-season life.
The 14-28 effort this spring saw the team improve in pitching, hitting and defense. Numbers back up the progress the squad has shown in recent seasons, especially on the mound.
SAGU’s earned run average has dropped from 10.00 two years ago to 7.38 in 2011 to 5.27 in 2012.
Batting has advanced from .266 to .280 to .284 in the past three years, though power has not, declining from 16 to 14 to only four home runs.
Coach Shockley, entering his second year, has sought to recruit pitching. The Lions ERA was 6th in the RRAC.
While their collective .284 bats ranked fourth, driving in runs was more of a strain, finishing ninth of the ten teams.
The Lions graduated nine seniors, leaving a leadership and experience void. Coach Shockley is hopeful that a new cast of ‘Cats will step in and step up.
Fall Camp to include Alumni Game
The team will officially begin Fall Camp on September 24. Prior to the team’s annual weeklong World Series of intra-squad games, they will hold scrimmages against local teams.
Coach Shockley and Assistant Coach Tommy Benningfield plan a return of the popular Alumni Game, likely in October.
Current SAGU Baseball Recruiting Class
|Player||Height||Position(s)||Hometown / Birthplace||Previous School / Head Coach|
|Tyler English||6'0||OF-RHP||Abilene, TX||Gatesville HS / Graig Keeton|
|Gage Anderson||5'10||RHP-C||Rapid City, SD||Blooming Grove HS (TX) / Matt Anderson|
|Rusty Hensel||5'11||1B-3B||Maypearl, TX||Dallas Christian College / Denny Dixon|
|Hayden Killebrew||6'0||RHP||Red Oak, TX||Red Oak HS / Jay Johnson|
|Austin Martinez||5'11||OF||Childress, TX||Grandview HS / Ryan Ebner|
|*Billy Mee||5'10||3B||Fayetteville, NC||Copperas Cove HS / C.J. Wilk|
|Sal Rico, Jr.||5'9||RHP-2B||Houston, TX||Mt. Carmel Academy|
|Micah Thompson||5'6||2B-RHP||Waco, TX||Gatesville HS / Graig Keeton|
|Nick Turley||6'5||RHP||Dallas, TX||CFNI, Ovilla Christian / Dustin Robinson|
(Players listed alphabetically)