SAGU Softball Signs Kyla Burke
Homing Lady Hawk
Coach Grant Reels in First Recruit
RED OAK, Texas -- Head Coach Tim Grant didn’t have to go very far to sign the first recruit for Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s new women’s softball team.
At a special ceremony this week at nearby Red Oak High School, the personable Grant reeled in Kyla Burke, a multi-talented infielder, who signed a National Letter of Intent to suit up for SAGU in their inaugural season. Following weeks of practice this fall, the Lady Lions will don purple and vegas gold uniforms to begin the 2012 season in late January.
Alex Riley, a sports writer for the Waxahachie Daily Light who covered the signing, describes Burke as a “standout” performer at Red Oak.
“Well, I'm very honored to be the first one,” Burke said after her pen bound her to the growing Christian college in Waxahachie. “I know it's going to be the start of a great program and it feels good to be the first in SAGU’s softball legacy,” she added.
Riley reported that Burke’s parents graduated from Southwestern, as did other members of her family. He reported the senior “was quick to cite the high moral standards students are require to uphold during their time there (at SAGU) as something she wanted to be a part of.”
The new softball program was icing on the cake!
Burke played a myriad of positions during several years as a maroon-clad Lady Hawk. As a junior she served as a backup pitcher. This season she learned something that could prove most-valuable at SAGU. Red Oak had a fresh new beginning under first-year coach, Tatum Thorne, who had to build a brand spanking new core of players. And he began with Burke.
SAGU’s Grant is following his lead.
She dug her heels in at third base, and Coach Thorne never moved her. She was the only position player to spend almost the entire campaign at one spot in the field. She did not disappoint!
The right-hander knocked in 19 runs, second-best on the team, and swung a dependable .287 bat. She ripped three doubles, a triple and stole five bases.
Burke’s only appearance in the field other than at the hot corner was in the circle. She hurled four innings, struck out four batters and picked up a winner.
Grant did the same thing in Red Oak this week!
The congenial Burke comes to SAGU with more than good bat and glove. Her prep coach, Thorne praised an intangible she brings to the table.
“Leadership,” he said clearly. “A confidence that is great to have on the field. Not only (in) herself, but (one) she can push on others.” That kind of influence will likely be a tremendous asset on a young ballclub.
“She's going to be a great, great addition to SAGU. That's for sure,” Thorne concluded.
SAGU is one of 300 colleges who are members in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA Division I). They compete regionally in the second largest conference in the nation. The Red River Athletic Conference has 15 institutions from four states (Tx, La, Ok, and NM) as members.
The Lions also enjoy dual membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association, which provides post-season options as well as 50 schools across the nation for wholesome competition and a shared spiritual purpose.
Southwestern continues to develop more than its athletic program. Since the early 1990’s, the college has seen a large increase in its enrollment, swelling from 400 students to 2,100, and its academic menu to well over 60 majors. More than 50% of the buildings and facilities on campus have been built in the past decade.
The reasons are worth looking into!