A Whole New Ballgame!
Softball to debut this week
Tim Grant leads Lady Lions into inaugural season
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- This weekend the Southwestern Assemblies of God University will debut a new sport in the inaugural season for women’s college fast-pitch softball.
Under the overall governance of Vice President Terry Phipps, who directs Student Services (which includes all SAGU sports), and Athletic Director Jesse Godding, the adding of softball has been very well received and anticipated.
The Lady Lions will play their first five games on the road before making their debut at their new campus park, which is currently under construction. During a 28-game schedule the Lady Lions will suit up for nine home games.
SAGU travels to Moore, Oklahoma for a twin-bill this Saturday, January 28, against Hillsdale Baptist College. The Lions and Saints are set for a noon start. The pitching rotation has yet to be made public, though up to four hurlers could be utilized.
Moore, located between Oklahoma City and Norman, is 222 miles from Waxahachie.
Under the direction of Head Coach Tim Grant, Southwestern will take to the field for a three-game homestand versus Langston University (14-22 last season) on Friday, February 24, at 3:00pm. The teams will return the next day, Feb. 25, for a noon doubleheader.
Lady Lions to play on Campus
The new facilities, which include an expanded dugout for SAGU, a clay infield, and a regulation outfield with six-foot fences. It’s 203 feet down the lines and 216 to center.
Located next to Pride Park, where the soccer teams play, and beside the refurbished baseball practice area, the softball diamond is also adjacent to the Sheaffer Center.
The SAGU baseball team play all of their games at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, on Broadhead Road, just north of Highway 287. They begin the 2012 campaign this weekend, January 27-28, at the WSC. Their complete schedule posted under Athletics on the SAGU website.
According to Coach Grant, who brings a wealth of experience and leadership in several college sports, the squad will carry around 15 players in their first spring together. While they have some impressive talent donning purple and gold, the Lady Lions will be green in regards to college experience.
The team roster and complete schedule are currently posted on the SAGU Athletic website.
A complete introduction of the team will be presented on-line after they have a few games under their belt. The line-up will have more clarity once the season is underway.
The team has one senior, Tabitha Ray, from Lake Jackson, Texas. A pitcher, Ray has been a vocal proponent of bringing the sport to SAGU.
The coaching staff has been secured, with Rachel Harris, a former SAGU athlete, will assist Grant. Additionally, Seth Godding and Mariah Navarrete are Student Assistants.
Coach Grant has announced that Kyla Burke and Cassandra Mata have been named Co-Captains. Burke is a freshman from Waxahachie High School and Mata (MAHT-uh) a junior out of Crystal City, Texas.
The team had their initial Fall Camp three months ago. They worked on fundamentals, live batting, game situations and base-running. Additionally, Dr. Sally Ford has been developing player quickness and agility as the team’s Speed Coach.
Southwestern students and fans will have the opportunity to support the new team as they build and grow together from their inception. “Having the games on campus will allow the team and fans to connect,” Grant said. “It is usually tough at the start, but the blessings this provides should only add to the SAGU experience.”
It also gives Southwestern four women’s sports, equaling the men’s department. Currently, the two winningest athletic programs are volleyball and women’s basketball. The women’s soccer team appears on their way to doing likewise.
From the beginning the team will compete in the Red River Athletic Conference as well as enjoying dual Division I membership in both the *NAIA and the **NCCAA. There are nine softball teams in the RRAC. Last year’s final standings are posted below.
Northwood University, located in nearby Cedar Hill, is the conference’s highest ranked team in the NAIA’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll. The Knights are #40 nationally after winning the Red River title last spring with a 38-15 won-lost record.
Northwood was 18-11 before going on a 20-2 tear to end the season in the NAIA. They earned a berth in the 32-team NAIA National Tournament in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where they went 1-2 in pool play.
*National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
**National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA)
RRAC 2011 Final Standings
Team (RRAC Record) Overall Record
Northwood University, Cedar Hill, Tx (18-3) 38-15
Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Tx (16-5) 26-20
Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, Tx (13-8) 25-29
Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Tx (10-11) 15-26
University of the Southwest, Hobbs, N.Mex (10-11) 15-27
Langston University, Langston, Ok (9-12) 14-22
Bacone College, Muskogee, Ok (7-14) 10-33
Texas College, Tyler, Tx (1-20) 1-20