Baseball team announces schedule
New campus park dimensions discussed
SAGU has 33 of 50 games at home, 14 on campus
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- When the crash of helmets gives way to the crack of bats, the sporting world moves from football to baseball.
The 2013 game known as America’s past time will soon begin anew for the baseball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Jon Shockley, entering his second year as the head coach for SAGU, has released the team’s new schedule. With roughly 50 games on the horizon, the Lions will have their work cut out for them.
While the squad will be filled with fresh faces, perhaps the team’s top storyline is the start of playing many home games on campus this season.
The former practice field has undergone a shifted infield, groundwork, and the addition of dugouts and a backstop.
“Bringing games to our campus park will allow more students take in games,” Shockley said this week. “Coming outdoors to enjoy college baseball will be a new part of the SAGU experience. We’re grateful to be coming home!”
The Lions’ itinerary is home-loaded with 33 games in town. Of those, 14 will be played on the campus park. January will host two games on campus, with February earmarked for three more; March has five and April another four.
The other 19 home games will be played across town at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, which has the benefit of lights. The complex, which has served as SAGU’s home for years, is located just north of highway 287 on Broadhead Street.
Three straight doubleheaders on January 25, 26 and 29 will officially start the new campaign. The first two pit the Lions against Hillsdale College (Ok) at the complex and the twinbill on the 26th slated for the campus park.
The new ballfield, which is at the back of the Sheaffer Center (gym), is next to the new women’s softball field. It will likely be known as a pitcher’s park.
Batters may find the short porch in rightfield, just 295 feet from the plate, a tempting target, though it does come with an obstacle. Just like leftfield, which is 320 feet down the line, both have a 24-foot fence to clear.
It’s SAGU’s version of Fenway’s Green Monster, which is 310 feet down the line, though it is 37 feet tall.
“It will take a solid poke to get one over,” says Shockley, “but we have players hitting them out in practice.”
A preliminary warning to windshields parked along the rightfield fence: avoid being a smash hit by locating another place for your car during practice and games!
The power alleys are 365 feet away, each with fencing that is 16-feet high. Centerfield has an eight-foot fence, though it is 403 feet from home.
Final touches on the field and dugouts await completion, including the need for a scoreboard, which could possibly be open to a sponsor.
The SAGU home schedule includes a few NAIA powers sure to draw attention. Rogers State University, from the Sooner Athletic Conference, visits on February 1-2 at the complex.
The Hillcats were 49-16 last year, third in the SAC behind Oklahoma City University (48-12) and Oklahoma Baptist University (47-14).
The Lions will move to the SAC next year.
Kansas Wesleyan University comes to town on Feb. 8-9. The Coyotes are led by longtime coach Mark Carvalho, a friend of Shockley’s. The 'Yotes posted a 34-22 mark last spring.
The Lions (14-28) will also face perennial juggernauts from the Red River Athletic Conference.
LSU-Shreveport (54-6), the #1 ranked team in the nation a year ago, will come calling during April 5-6. The following weekend the Purple Pride tangles with Texas Wesleyan University (33-21) on campus.
The complete schedule is posted on the SAGU website under Athletics/Baseball/Schedule.
SAGU opens camp in early January.
Watch for a pre-preview of the team next week. It follows the completion of their seven-week fall camp.
The team roster, which may add a few new recruits over the holidays, will be announced next month.