Statewide journalists follow SAGU softball
Competitive writers, photographers submit entries
Here are the Top 3 stories, pictures of SAGU-TWU game
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The second season for the women’s softball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University had its share of special moments.
One of them was a unique setting that surrounded the second game of a double-header against Texas Wesleyan University. What made it memorable was what happened beyond the playing field.
The Lady Lions had begun the year by winning nine of their first 14 games, including a streak of seven wins eight games. A far cry from their 2-28 inaugural season of 2012.
After beating the University of the Southwest (NMex), 5-3, on March 22, SAGU held an 11-8 record. That day was notable because freshman Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) had crushed the first-ever SAGU homer on the new campus field. It was a frozen rope that was pulled down the leftfield line.
Injuries reduced the team roster leading to a second half slide. The inspiring start of 2013 was a distant memory during a 2-16 finish.
But on April 5 they took on Wesleyan in Fort Worth in a pair of night games at Sycamore Park. While the Lady Lions would be swept, they battled valiantly and made the Rams work.
The atmosphere they played in was extremely rare for an NAIA regular season venue.
Jay Miller, the new executive director of Student Media Company, Inc., brought 70 student journalists from colleges across the state to cover the nightcap.
They had gathered for the 2013 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) conference that was being held in Ft. Worth. There were two competitions going on that night; Sports Writing and Sports Photography.
Young journalists had a time limit, word limit and could submit just one picture.
When the game ended, a press conference was held in the stands. It featured the victorious head coach and a few players from the winning team. Both teams were aware of the setting and were briefed by their respective Sports Information Directors.
Miller, who has plenty of experience, including years at The Dallas Morning News, sent the winning stories and photos, which are posted here.
Wesleyan slows down SAGU
TIPA: First Place SPorts Article
By Cameron Irvine, Texas State University (San Marcos, Tx)
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two home runs propelled Texas Wesleyan University softball to an 8-6 record in the Red River Athletic Conference and a 6-0 victory over Southwestern Assemblies of God University Friday night at Sycamore Park.
The shutout was the fourth in the last two years against SAGU (11-14 overall, 5-11 in RRAC), who began playing softball last season. The Lady Lions were run-ruled in all three meetings with Wesleyan (15-17, 8-6) in 2012.
Utility junior Kali Jester and junior second baseman Ashley Seibel notched the two homers for Wesleyan. Seibel’s was the first of her collegiate career.
“I knew I hit it solid but I didn’t know it went over (the fence),” Seibel said. “I was rounding (the bases), hit second, hit third and (asked) if I could keep the ball. I was really excited!”
With no score entering the bottom of the third, Wesleyan got their bats going on four straight hits, capped off by Seibel’s shot to centerfield. Overall, the Lady Rams got 10 total hits from seven batters, with eight reaching base in the game.
“My assistant and I are offensive coaches,” said Head Coach Shannon Gower. “Whenever we actually do perform offensively, we hold that very highly. That’s how I feel we win our ball games, by getting on base.”
Wesleyan senior pitcher Cheyenne Brown picked up her sixth win of the season. Up 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Brown was hit by a foul ball during an at bat, but recovered with a single. Jester’s home run came on the next at bat.
“I feel pretty motivated by myself. Getting hit didn’t hurt anything,” Brown said. “I think that our team had such a good energy and we got up on them.”
Brown struck out four batters and allowed three hits. Junior pitcher Alexis Beltran went 2-for-3 in game two and went yard for her sixth home run of the season in game one. The Lady Rams took the first game of the doubleheader, 7-5.
Freshman third baseman Kelsey Coburn, sophomore first baseman Kasey Poovey and senior catcher Heather Wyatt all recorded hits for the Lady Lions in the loss.
With the win, Texas Wesleyan moves into the fourth slot in the RRAC with 10 games remaining. The Lady Rams will face SAGU in the third game of the series on Monday at 5:00 p.m.
“Every series we win puts us up. We are trying to get (a top two spot) so we can get seeded in the tournament, getting a bye,” Gower said. “Every win is very important. It helps with our confidence and gets.
TIPA: Second Place Sports Article
By Kenny Kost, Tarrant County College (Ft. Worth, Tx)
FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Texas Wesleyan University Lady Rams rode the arm of Cheyenne Brown to a dominating 6-0 victory over the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lady Lions in the second game of a doubleheader.
Brown tallied four strikeouts and improved to 6-5 on the season in a complete game, three-hit shutout.
“I’m not a strikeout pitcher,” Brown said. “So it’s nothing I’m not used to. I just felt ‘on’ tonight, hitting my spots and had good (ball) movement. I was just pretty confident in myself.”
First baseman Ashley Seibel opened up the scoring in the third inning with a three-run blast to centerfield. The Lady Rams never looked back. She finished the game going 2-for-3 with a home run and a double. It was Seibel’s first college home run.
“I knew I hit it solid but I didn’t know it went over (the fence),” Seibel said. “I was rounding third and said, ‘Can I keep the ball?’ I was really excited.”
Lady Lions’ pitcher Shannen Nance never found her groove, giving up 10 hits in six innings of work including a two-run dinger off the bat of Lady Rams’ catcher Kali Jester in the bottom of the sixth.
The final run came after Nance hit centerfielder Sara Sandercock with a pitch, sending her first. She was eventually driven in by second baseman Kendall Kizer’s single up the middle after being moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Meagan Alvarez.
The Lady Lions failed to get anything going with just three hits in 24 at bats. Nance fell to 7-7 on the year.
Head Coach Shannon Gower said the conference wins today were needed. Wesleyan improved to 8-6 in conference play and 15-17 overall.
Looking ahead, Gower said they are going to take it one game at a time.
“The wins were important,” Gower said. “I’m really optimistic of what we can do. We need to make sure we carry the momentum over from tonight into Monday and finish the series off with a complete sweep.”
“We need to push through this series and begin to prepare for our next one.”
TIPA: Third Place Sports Article
Ryan Osborne, Texas Christian University (Ft. Worth, Tx)
FORT WORTH, Texas -- One swing, three runs and about thirty seconds were all it took Friday night for the Texas Wesleyan University softball team.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University had no answer afterward.
Ashley Seibel’s three-run homerun in the third inning and Cheyenne Brown’s strong performance in the circle powered TWU to a 6-0 win over SAGU at Sycamore Park in Fort Worth.
Brown (6-5) tossed all seven innings for the shutout win.
“I felt really good,” Brown said. “I felt strong and confident throughout the whole game.”
Brown, in her first season at TWU after transferring from Cameron University (Ok), gave up three hits and struck out four, but it was Seibel’s big play at the plate that gave the Rams the separation they needed.
The junior from Cypress, Tx doubled in her first at bat in the second inning. It sparked a minor rally that (loaded the bases with no outs) ended with a pop-up, fielder’s choice and a strikeout.
In the next frame Seibel took matters into her own hands. She blasted Shannen Nance’s pitch over the left-centerfield fence to give TWU its first runs of the game. Emily Burch and Alexis Beltran started the go-ahead inning with singles.
Kalie Jester added a two-run, insurance shot in the sixth inning to put the Lady Lions (11-14) further out of reach.
Nance pitched six innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits.
Beltran led TWU with three hits. Seibel and Burch each finished with two hits.
Kelsey Coburn, Kasey Poovey and Heather Wyatt picked up SAGU’s lone hits of the night.
TWU beat SAGU 7-5 in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. The two teams will complete the series on Monday.
Honorable Mention Article: Shawn Cho, University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, Tx)
Photo journalists were spread strategically throughout the park, each watching for what could be a winning moment.
The top three shots are all posted here.
Selected as the best picture was Ashley Seibel’s stretch for a throw at first base, which shows Heather Wyatt beating out an infield hit. Matt Hellman, from Baylor University (Waco, Tx), was credited with the pic.
Jake Waddingham, of the University of Texas at Tyler, snapped the second place photo of a sensational catch by SAGU leftfielder Bethany Krock. The picture can be seen at the top of this article. Krock also dove for a sinking liner to make another nab earlier in the contest.
The third choice was of the moment of contact at the plate by a Lady Rams batter. Shannen Nance, SAGU’s winningest hurler, and Wyatt, the catcher are in the action, along with a few infield photographers. Clifford Jones, from Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Tx), captured the play on film.
Note: The Lady Rams finished the regular season on a hot streak and a 25-17 record. At 18-6 they were second in the Red River Athletic Conference. They won the finale of the three-game series two days later, 1-0.
At the conference tourney they posted a 2-2 mark, losing twice to Bacone College.
SAGU began the year with an 11-8 mark. After the loss of several key players for the remainder of the season, they finished at 13-24.