Softball team secures outfielder
Along came Ryann Jones
Ryno homers, makes sensational catch at JuCo nationals
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The women’s softball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University signed a local player who arrives after two seasons at a two-year community college.
Ryann Jones inked a national letter of intent to suit-up for the Lady Lions for her junior and senior campaigns. She played a crucial role this spring at Blinn College (between Austin and Houston), who finished their season in May at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) nationals in St. George, Utah.
Prior to that, Jones was a four-year outfielder at nearby Maypearl High School (11 miles southwest of Waxahachie), where Robert Merritt was her head coach of the Panthers.
“She is a quality young lady with superb talent,” SAGU Assistant Coach Rachel Harris said of Jones. “We believe she is going to be a fantastic addition to our team. I am so glad we were able to sign her.”
Ryann’s response to her expectations at SAGU is to “…finish school and play softball while I’m doing it.” The 5-foot-6 right-hander says the game continues to be fun for her.
Donning the red and white for Class 2A Maypearl didn’t provide her with the same platform afforded to those at larger schools. After contacting Rick Church, the head coach of the national powerhouse at Blinn College, Jones was able to get a tryout.
She earned a reserve spot on the Buccaneers team through diligence, toiling to adjust to the speed of college pitchers. By the end of the season her batting average had risen to .326. Blinn (55-8 record) advanced to nationals where they played six games before being eliminated.
Her sophomore effort saw her development continue, leading to a position in rightfield where she made only two errors in 38 games. Nicknamed “Rhyno” by her youth pastor several years ago, she became a clutch hitter down the stretch as a starter.
Perhaps Jones’ best moment came in the first round of the post-season in the regional tournament. She drove in all three runs in a 3-2 Bucs win over the Bossier Parish Community College (26-29) (La.) Cavaliers.
She swung a .359 stick, 20 runs batted in, clubbing nine doubles and three home runs, including one dinger at nationals.
The Bucs (51-10), ranked #6 in the nation, qualified for nationals, where they went 2-2. Jones went 5-of-12 with two RBI in those games.
At nationals, Blinn blanked Gordon College (39-18) (Ga), 9-0, and whipped #9 ranked Northeast Oklahoma A & M College (44-14) by a 5-2 count.
They fell to Wallace State (59-12) (Ala), 7-1, with Jones accounting for their lone run with a solo blast. #1 ranked Salt Lake Community College (59-9) (Ut) topped the Swashbucklers with a 6-1 score.
Ryno turned in a web gem while in the national’s spotlight, snaring a would-be homer that was sailing over the fence. According to Coach Harris, the Lady Lions Head Coach Tim Grant plans to utilize her in the outfield, possibly in left.
SAGU welcomes Jones, who will study Education with the goal of teaching high school math, as her blossoming skills can help lead the young program in their northern climb.
She learned of SAGU from her mom, Jan, who heard about the advent of the softball program.
Ryann (pronounced like the boy’s name, RY-an) has two older brothers, Nathan and Dillon. Her parents are Jerry and Jan Jones.
About SAGU Softball
The 2012 recruiting class now has five new players arriving this fall, four of them infielders. Adding a pitcher is still a need for the Lady Lions. (See the list below)
Southwestern is a dual Division I member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The NAIA has about 300 member institutions, while the NCCAA has over 100, including NAIA, NCAA Division II and III.
They compete regionally in the Red River Athletic Conference, which has 15 colleges from four states; Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico.
The team’s inaugural season started in January. They also opened their on-campus ballpark, playing eight games in Waxahachie this spring.
The 2013 schedule will be released later this summer.
Two new features for fans this year will come in the form of LiveStats, a digital play-by-play account of all home games.
The other will be officially unveiled this fall, when communication and feedback, to-and-from fans via Twitter, will be launched.
Current 2012-13 SAGU Recruits
|Name||Pos||Ht||Hometown (Previous School)||Head Coach|
Maypearl, TX (Blinn College)
|Paige Naron||C||5'6||Quanah, TX (Quanah HS)||Carrie Dodson|
|Makila Silvey||1B||5'9||Quanah, TX (Quanah HS)||Carrie Dodson|
|McKinlee Stokes||2B||5'6||Pampa, TX (Pampa HS)||Bobbi Gill|
|Heather Wyatt||C||5'8||Lake Jackson, TX (Brazoswood HS)||Laura Oltman|
Players listed alphabetically