Lady Lions softball season debut
Young, improved squad dons the purple and gold
Who will smack the team's first-ever HR at home?
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The start of just their second season was not made any easier by taking on a very good Our Lady of the Lake University team, but the wait is over. There remains much anticipation for the spring ahead and another 36 games.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University were much more productive at the plate than their four combined runs indicated during an 0-3 start. OLLU swept the series with scores of 8-0, 16-2 and 11-2, but the Lady Lions amassed 26 hits.
The team received an improved pitching performance and the defense more than held their own, especially considering the opposition.
The Lady Saints finished last year with a 28-18 record, the most wins of the nine teams in the Red River Athletic Conference.
Personable Head Coach Tim Grant is laying the foundation of the program, and, while the team is limited in numbers, they are building something good.
Added to that, fans can take in their formative growth as they make progress while playing on the new campus field.
The Lady Lions have three doubleheaders on the road over the next 10 days before returning home for three against Langston University during February 22-23. The LU Lady Lions were 18-15 a year ago.
The dimensions of the new field include left and rightfield fences that are 203 feet from the plate. Centerfield is a bit deeper at 216.
Fans can enjoy the proximity of the action while guessing who will be the first player in team history to launch a home run at the new park.
During their inaugural campaign in 2012 they had one homer, a 3-run blast hit at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. Freshman Chelsey Doyle (Seattle, Wa) gave the 'rawhide a joyride' in a loss to Langston. She finished second on the team in batting.
Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) led the squad with a .293 batting average and a team-best five doubles.
Shannen Davis (Enid, Ok / Kremlin-Hillsdale HS), now Davis-Nance, had the best Earned Run Average on the pitching staff.
Poovey and Davis-Nance return and will play key roles on the team.
Theresa Ballard (Austin, Tx / Homeschool), a sophomore second baseman, also returns. She led the team in runs scored as a freshman.
Two others who are back in action are Iliana “Loni” Jimenez and Cassandra Mata (both from Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS). Jimenez has moved from shortstop to leftfield while Mata (MAH-tah), who missed much of last season due to injury, is in centerfield.
Mata and catcher Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS) have been named co-captains of the team.
SAGU has six newcomers, all of whom should get plenty of opportunities to show their wares.
They include: utility player Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley Christian), pitcher Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian), shortstop McKinlee Stokes (Pampa, Tx / Pampa HS), third baseman Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS), catcher Wyatt, and pitcher Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx / Kennedale HS).
Students, the surrounding community, SAGU staff and fans are welcome to enjoy the team’s development while taking in the sun – all without having to leave the city or the campus!
The team is a dual Division I member in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). There were approximately 200 colleges in the NAIA who fielded softball teams in 2012.
SAGU competes regionally in the Red River Athletic Conference, which has 15 member schools in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Nine had teams last spring.
To follow the standings, schedules, scores, rosters and statistics of the RRAC, visit the website at: www.redriverconference.com. In the lefthand column, under Red River Sports, scroll down and click under Spring on Softball.
The top four teams last season were: Texas Wesleyan University (25-20 record), Our Lady of the Lake University (28-18), Northwood University (23-22) and Langston University (18-15).
Note: Fans can also view or purchase from hundreds of photos by Steve Patterson. Currently, choose from 340 pix from Saturday's game. His website is at: http://movingpictures.photoreflect.com