Baseball Lions Host Northwood This Weekend
Coaches Could Make Line-Up Changes
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team will host #26 ranked Northwood University in a 3-game series this weekend at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
On the heels of being swept by back-to-back Red River Athletic Conference foes, Head Coach Greg Hayes will likely shake up the line-up with a few moves for the trio of contests that will seriously test his squad.
SAGU (3-9, 0-6 RRAC) will go with senior lefthander Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) in the Friday night opener at 6:00pm. Ward sports a 1-0 mark and a 4.50 earned run average. The versatile player who usually bats in the two-hole, has a .250 batting average. He is a key performer on the mound, as well as an outfielder, first baseman and designated hitter.
Pitching Coach Clay Scarborough will go with junior Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) on the bump for Saturday's noon start of a doubleheader. Jared Jones (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS), a sophomore, will be on the mound for the series finale. Both righthanders are 0-2 to date.
Jones has held opposing hitters to a .197 combined batting average, while Stanley leads the team in innings pitched and strike outs.
"Of our six conference losses," Coach Hayes said this week, "four have hung in the balance late, only to slip away by our own doing." He added that if the team can shore up a few areas that have proliferated the slide in those games, "...causing them to get away from us, we can get rolling," he commented.
A proposed change in the defense will find Jones playing shortstop in the first two games of the series. He anchored the infield there a year ago until he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. With the move, David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS) could wind up at third base, where he played regularly two years ago. Both players are known for clutch hits and are due to get untracked after slow starts.
Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha-Omega Christian) is set to start at shortstop in Game Two of Saturday's twinbill while Jones pitches. Lippe (pronounced LIP-ee) continues to produce when called upon. He has hit .444 in nine trips to the plate, including a walk-off, three-run HR two weeks ago.
Coach Hayes cited several players who are heating up at the plate, including DuJuan Prater (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS), Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS), Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS) and Dominic Denney (Albuquerque, NM / LaCueva HS).
Prater, who bats in the #5 spot, has produced a team-leading 10 runs batted in while toting a .394 bat. The sophomore First Baseman has three doubles, six walks and a .485 slugging percentage. Jett, the Ragin' Cajun, is now swinging a .306 stick and is tops in stolen bases (three) as the leadoff sparkplug.
Wherland, a senior rightfielder, is the Lions' sultan of swat. He is batting .389 with nine ribbies, including a homer. Wherland is the toughest player for enemy pitchers to strike out, having fanned only three times in 36 official at bats. He went .381 while driving in 29 runs. He tied Rance Melton in extra base hits with eleven. Melton crushed five jacks, with Wherland smashing three dingers.
Denney has experienced a solid turnaround at the dish. In 2010 he hit .212. Through eleven games he is off to an impressive .304 start and leads the team by drawing ten walks.
Due to Subdue
Three players expected to breakout as the weather warms up are Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS), Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) and Gomez. All are hitting under .200 and are known commodities.
The gritty "Chavo" supplies the team with experience, toughness and a trademark "eye-black." Denton is currently manning leftfield and leads the 'Cats in runs, scoring seven times. Gomez, the handiest multi-purpose defender, seeks to regain his .303 form of 2009.
Chomping at the bit
Key players chomping for opportunities to contribute are Sean Armstrong (Albuquerque, NM / Manzano HS) who is a high-speed outfielder pushing for playing time, and Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), an infielder with a dependable glove. Armstrong has hit .333 in limited at bats and is a fleet-footed baserunner.
Location of SAGU home games
The Waxahachie Sports Complex is located on the north side of highway 287 on Broadhead Street. The venue is across from the ShowBiz Theatre and Whataburger. Once inside the park, turn right. The baseball diamond is in the far corner where newly installed covered seating and concessions are available. Fans are admitted free at the WSC.
The National Weather Service is calling for a sunny sky for Friday with a high in the low 60's.
Thursday JV Game Rained Out
Today's junior varsity doubleheader against Texas Wesleyan, slated to begin at 1:30pm in Fort Worth, has been rained out. No make-up date has been announced.
Current Red River Athletic Conference Standings
|TEAM/MASCOT||LOCATION||RRAC MARK||OVERALL RECORD|
|Northwood Univ Knights (26)||Cedar Hill, TX||6-0||12-3|
|LSU-Shreveport Pilots (13)||Shreveport, LA||3-0||9-6|
|UT-Brownsville Scorpions||Brownsville, TX||5-1||10-3|
|Wiley College Wildcats||Marshall, TX||3-3||4-4|
|Huston-Tillotson Univ Rams||Austin, TX||3-3||3-3|
|Texas College Steers||Tyler, TX||3-3||6-7|
|Texas Wesleyan Univ Rams (41)||Ft Worth, TX||3-3||5-6|
|Univ of Southwest Mustangs||Hobbs, NM||2-4||5-10|
|Jarvis Christian College Bulldogs||Hawkins, TX||2-4||2-5|
|Bacone College Warriors||Muskogee, OK||0-3||1-9|
|SAGU Lions||Waxahachie, TX||0-6||3-8|
|**Number in parenthesis is team's national ranking in the NAIA - Division I|
RRAC 's Top 5 in 2010
The best ball clubs a year were ago included LSU-Shreveport (48-13), Northwood (40-14), Wiley College (24-11), UT-Brownsville (31-24) and Texas Wesleyan (32-28).
Northwood defeated Wesleyan in the RRAC tournament championship game in an 8-7 decision.