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New hopes abound in final RRAC season

Season debut on new campus park, Jan. 25-26

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Second year Head Coach Jon Shockley and a pack of new baseball players report on Monday, January 14, for the start of pre-season practice.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University graduated nine seniors from a team that went 14-28 in 2012. It opens the door for a young cast of underclassmen.

The rebuilding season will be the Lions final campaign in the Red River Athletic Conference. Next year they will join the Sooner Athletic Conference.

The squad will also don a pair of new uniforms, including a purple jersey with SAGU emblazoned across the chest.

During fall camp the Lions had 35 players making their case for a spot in the line-up or as a member of the 2013 roster. It will likely number around 25-30 ballplayers when the season begins in less than three weeks.

Expect junior catchers Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) and Taylor Froelich (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit West HS) to anchor the infield while a completely new outfield will introduce three new starters.

Left-hander Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and closer Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS), both sophomores, will be key figures on the mound.

Rusty Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Dallas Christian College, Maypearl HS), a burly infielder with longball clout, is a transfer who figures prominently in the batting order. The sophomore is the younger brother of Riley, who recently graduated.

Much of the infield and pitching staff will make way for incoming newcomers who will battle some returning players for starting assignments.

Shockley and Assistant Coach Tommy Benningfield are joined by new staffers Derrick Fortner and Andrew Rickman. Benningfield and Fortner are former SAGU players who still hold records here.

SAGU transformed their practice facility into their newfangled campus park. It will host a select number of games this season while the crosstown Waxahachie Sports Complex, which has lights, will be the site of the remaining games.

With a short rightfield porch, students and fans may want to avoid parking near the fence during practices and games.

The club's schedule is posted on-line. It is still subject to a few minor changes.

The campus field has detailing to be completed in the next few weeks and still needs a scoreboard.

SAGU opens the season at home with a pair of back-to-back doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, January 25-26. The opponent for the four game series will be Hillsdale College, from Moore, Oklahoma.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

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