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Denton, Fletcher, Sheffield to lead new-look Lions

New Coach Sam Blackmon and team to open camp on Jan. 13

baseball-sliding-homeWAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team will resume practices for the 2014 season on Monday, January 13.

Sam Blackmon, entering his first year as Head Coach, concluded a successful fall camp that concluded with a fresh, new look Lions team.

The current roster has eleven players from last year’s team to go along with 18 who are vying to make their debut in purple and gold. There could still be changes to the 29-man squad by the start of the regular season.

SAGU will commence a 46-game schedule on the last weekend in January when Hillsdale College (Ok) visits for a pair of doubleheaders at home on January 31 and February 1.

The first one is set to be played at the Waxahachie Sports Complex across town while the Saturday twinbill will be played on campus.

The Lions will play 17 doubleheaders and a dozen single games. Fans can access the entire schedule on-line at:

SAGU is a new member in the Sooner Athletic Conference, which has ten schools fielding baseball programs this spring. Half of them are ranked in the Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll.

The Lions have 15 games on tap against those teams, seven of them at home.

Oklahoma City University (49-13 record last season) is the highest rated in the SAC at No. 5 in the NAIA. Oklahoma Baptist University (44-19) starts at No. 11.sheffield-threadgill-go-for-pop-up

The next two teams, like SAGU, are joining the Sooner after years in the Red River Athletic Conference. Northwood University (Tx) (44-13) is ranked No. 13. Texas Wesleyan University (42-18) is at No. 20.

Receiving votes, but not breaking inside the Top 25 is the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma. The Drovers (41-19) appear at No. 33.

SAGU plays each of the other nine SAC teams in three-game series, totaling 27 conference games. Sixteen will be played at home, eleven are on the road.

Of the Lions 29 home games, 13 will take place on campus. Sixteen are scheduled for the WSC (151 Broadhead Rd., Waxahachie 75165). It is just north of Highway 287 near the Showbiz Theatre.

Fans can get a quick look at the team when they open with their first 10 games at home against Hillsdale, Central Christian College (13-39) and Wiley College (5-33).

A preview of the team will be posted in two weeks. It will include the coaching staff, which returns all three assistants from last spring along with a new addition.

That staff consists of Blackmon, Tommy Benningfield, Derek Fortner, Andrew Rickman – all beginning their second year, and Chris Semprun. The latter will handle Lion pitchers.

SAGU will be led by a pair of senior veterans in catcher Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) and infielder Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS).

Another senior, outfielder Tali Fletcher (Monahans, Tx / Monahans HS), gives the Lions three players who will complete four years in purple.

There are three other seniors in Jeremy Cross (Harker Heights, Tx / U. of Dallas), Zach Worrell (Hurst, Tx / L.D. Bell HS, Central Christian College) and Dej (DEEZJ) Mathis (Wister, Ok / Bacone College).

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

Sooner Athletic Conference - 2014 Baseball

Rank Teams 2013 Record Series Site (Games)
  Mid-America Christian 5-47 Oklahoma City (3)
13 Northwood University 44-13 Waxahachie (3)
11 Oklahoma Baptist 44-19 Waxahachie (3)
5 Oklahoma City University 49-13 Oklahoma City (3)
33 Science & Arts of Okla 41-19 Chickasha, OK (3)
  SAGU Lions 14-34 ---
  Southwestern Christian DNP Waxahachie (3)
20 Texas Wesleyan Univ 42-18 Wax (1) / Ft Worth (2)
  Wayland Baptist 20-35 Waxahachie (3)

Note:   SAGU hosts a single game against TWU before the next two games the following day in Ft. Worth.

DNP:   Southwestern Christian University did not play last year. They are beginning their baseball program this season.