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January 22, 2020

Waxahachie, TX- Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Baseball team is ready for another season under Head Coach Matthew Cornacchione. The Lions were picked to finish seventh in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) standings. They return solid pitching depth as well as experience in their everyday batting order.

Coach Cornacchione gave some great insight into what it takes to be a part of SAGU Athletics. He also elaborated on how core values, beliefs, and characteristics will guide his baseball program through the 2020 Baseball season.

Coach Matthew Cornacchione talks about the 2020 Baseball season

Q: You were picked to finish 7th in the SAC Preseason Poll. Is that something you use as motivation or do you not really pay much attention?

A: “I don’t pay much attention to that. Preseason polls are almost always reflections of the past three years of standings. The SAC is strong every year. This season we have three teams in our league that are ranked in the NAIA top 10 nationally. We expect it to be a challenge and know that if it were to come easy then it wouldn’t mean anything.”

Q: What is something you have done with your team or individually in the offseason that has prepared you for the upcoming season? (read a book, did something spiritually, etc)

A: “We have done devotions, Bible studies, and are going through a leadership book with some of our upperclassmen. We try to keep our Biblical principals in high regard each day in our program. We challenge our student-athletes with who we are called to be.”

Q: Is there a new player or returning player that you are excited to see on the field? If so why?

A: “We have a pretty solid mixture of youth and experience. We brought in 30 new players this Fall. We are returning 8 regulars from last year’s offense and are returning our entire conference starting rotation and closer from last season. We are excited to see the growth with the work our returning players have put in. We’re also excited to see how ready our new additions are to contribute.”

Q: What are some areas/players that are pivotal for you to have a great season?

A: “We need to show growth as competitors. Our focus is in how we respond to the inevitable challenges that every team faces. How we respond will not only determine the outcome of our season, but who we are as men.”

Q: How do you evolve from year to year as a coach? How do you think you and your players have changed from last season?

A: “The biggest change for us this past year has been the growth of our coaching staff. We were fortunate enough to add some very qualified coaches this year. Coaches like Cliff Bartosh, Chris Semprun, Dalton Tharp and Trey Ritz all fit with what SAGU is as an institution. My biggest challenge is making sure that I’m putting these coaches in positions where they are free to make the maximum impact on our program on a daily basis.”

Q: Does this team have an identity or will it have to play out?

A: “We try to get our guys to always play to their strengths. That being said, we try to equip them with as many tools in their toolbox as possible. The more things they do well the better it is for them, and the program. In the end, it always comes down to what they do well.”

Q: In what areas do you feel this team is the strongest?

A: “Experience.”

Q: Goals are important in athletics. You don’t want to focus on just one because you can miss a lot of small victories along the way. What are some team goals, individual player goals, and coaching goals you have this season?

A: “We’re not worried about the postseason, conference tournament, or awards. Our focus is being worthy of winning every game we play. Those long-term things are a byproduct. When you are worthy of it, you’ve paid the price, you’ve given yourself your best chance to win even before a pitch is thrown. Do that every day, every game and the results will take care of themselves.”

SAGU will open with two home games against Randall on Friday, January 23 rd . The first game will start at 12:30 pm with the second contest starting 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first.

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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