Command Performance; SAGU's Cam Ward
Senior Hurler backed by three HR's in 13-3 win
Victory matches 2010 Win Total with 13+ Games Yet to be Played
BIG SPRINGS, Texas -- And the Oscar winner of "Best Actor in a Leading Role" goes to Cameron Ward in the "Senior's Pitch."
To say that Ward's effort in Friday's 13-3 triumph over Jarvis Christian College was outstanding is an understatement. The senior from Mansfield, Texas improved his record to 3-1 with a nine-inning complete game performance that brought rave reviews from his colleagues on the Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team.
Ward, a crafty lefthander, spread nine hits and allowed just three runs and three walks, while striking out two. He countered the aggressive Bulldogs by setting down five on first-pitch outs. His mix of varying speeds kept Jarvis hitters off balance.
Cajun Catches Would-be Hit
The SAGU defense was errorless behind him. Ward got 13 outs on fly balls to the outfield. Centerfielder Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) made another diving catch in support of Ward's pitching gem. Just a week ago he stilled the league's best hitting team, Wiley College, with another impressive win.
Coupled with Jared Jones' (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) complete game triumph over Howard Payne University on Tuesday, the Lions have consecutive complete game wins for one of the few times in recent years. The victory gives the Lions the same number as a year ago, with at least 13 games to go.
Not only did Ward stymie the Hounds of Hawkins on the mound, he was equally effective at the plate. He pounded four hits in four trips to the dish. He scored one run, drove in another and walked twice. It was reported that he worked in the concessions stand between innings and sold programs as well.
The Coaches Speak
Assistant Coach Clay Scarborough made for a campaign manager after the game. "Cam was fantastic," he said. "Definitely a candidate for player of the week in our conference! His endeavors today were those of a true senior!"
"It was a great game by Cam," said Greg Hayes, the team's head coach. "He was off the hook and in total control. Whatever he had for breakfast, I'm ordering some!"
As it turned out, Ward hadn't eaten all day. A few innings into the game he began to feel a bit sick. He was given a quick bite and a swig of Gatorade and soon it was the Bulldogs who were feeling ill.
The Lions were hitting lights out as well, totaling a season best 21 hits. Seven of the nine starters had crooked numbers (two or more) in the hit column.
Saturday Twinbill vs Bulldogs
SAGU (8-19, 2-14 in RRAC) have won three of their last six games. They will play two more against Jarvis (5-15, 5-11) in a Saturday doubleheader that begins at noon. Big Springs High School, southeast of Tyler, is hosting the games.
Southwestern will go with junior southpaw Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau, Boswell HS) in the opener, while Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) gets the rock in the nightcap. Stanley is a junior right-hander.
Should the Lions sweep the series they could catch both Texas College and University of the Southwest. Both the Steers and the USW Mustangs have dropped seven straight games.
A year the Purple Pride yielded double-digits in 20 of their 35 games. They have surrendered 10+ runs in only 13 of 27 so far, but just twice in their last eight outings.
DuJuan Prater (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) singled home Jones for a 1-0 lead to lead off the top of the first inning.
In one of the few mistakes Ward offered, Jarvis' Devonte Odums lined a 2-run homer in the bottom of the third for a brief 2-1 lead for the home team.
Then the turning point. In the top of the fifth, after Jones ripped a leadoff single, Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS) strode to the plate. Jarvis starter Justin Valdez fired a pitch to catcher Blaine Shackleford. It never got there.
Connectamundo! Wherland cranked a two run blast beyond the fences! It was unplayable. 3-2 SAGU. He wasn't through. He would equal Ward's four hit effort.
An inning later the senior hulkster came to bat with Cats a'huggin all three bases. David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS), Jett and Jones all rapped singles and awaited delivery. They wouldn't have to wait long.
Wherland knocked in a pair with a single before Prater, the team's #2 RBI producer, singled in Jones. 6-2 SAGU. Ward, who played at Arlington's Grace Preparatory, smacked a ribbie from the left side. Four runs had scored, two baserunners were aboard and there were still no outs.
Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) changed all of that, figuratively. Valdez served up another rawhide sphere. Denton hit it 'out.' The ball had been voted off the island! 10-2 SAGU.
Jarvis scored in their half of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by clean-up batter Jonathan Cartagena.
Southwestern scored thrice more in the top of the ninth frame. Following a bunt single by Jones and a shot to leftfield by Wherland, Prater (PRAY-ter) turned out the lights. The sophomore with swat erupted. Krakatoa! East of Java! A three-run long distance call and a 13-3 scoreboard bulge!
Besides Ward and Wherland each registering four hits apiece, Jones went 3-for-5 and scored four times. Prater, who can fill a stat sheet, was 3-for-6 with 5 RBI. Denton, who has been warming up of late, banged out three base knocks in five tries, producing three ribbies.
Jett was 2-for-5 and had one of the five walks the team coaxed off Jarvis pitchers. Gomez went 2-for-2 and had a walk before being relieved by Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS).
Dominic Denney (Albuquerque, NM / LaCueva HS) and Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha-Omega HS), two productive batters in the team's attack, each had a rare hitless day. It hardly mattered. Somebody had to make some outs or the game would still be going. It was that type of day.
What will they do for an encore?