By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
A recently graduate Waxahachie baseball player has found his four-year home following one of the more unique recruitment seasons in recent memory.
BG Winn signed his national letter of intent Monday morning to continue his baseball career at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. Though signing days are typically full of fanfare, friends and family, Winn quietly inked his commitment in an on-campus ceremony attended by only his parents, two younger sisters and two SAGU baseball coaches — both of whom wore SAGU-themed masks.
“It’s going to be awesome to get to play college baseball, especially in this situation,” Winn said. “It is a privilege, and I’m super excited and looking forward to it.”
Winn, like many other high school seniors and collegiate sophomores, had his recruitment process greatly hindered by the COVID-19 fallout, as many programs allowed their seniors to hang around on scholarship for another season. With those players unexpectedly returning, roster spots that some coaches thought they’d have quickly evaporated.
Winn began the COVID-19 shortened season (11 games) as hot as anyone in the area at the plate. He collected 14 hits with 10 doubles and one triple in just 27 at-bats for an eye-popping .519 batting average and 1.284 OPS. The second baseman also drew four walks to offset his four strikeouts and did not commit an error in the field.
“I am thankful for a place like this right here for giving me an opportunity to play,” Winn added. “You can’t beat it, man. It’s in your hometown, you know everyone here and it’s college baseball. No matter where I would’ve gone, it’s college baseball and I am looking forward to playing.”
SAGU assistant coach Cliff Bartosh was instrumental in recruiting Winn to the program, said Wess Winn, BG’s father and a 48th round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1995 MLB first-year player draft.
“It’s cool,” the elder Winn said. “There’s a plan now and — with everything going on in the world — it’s cool to be at a school like this and be able to build not only on your baseball but on your faith.
“BG was real impressed with coach [Cliff] Bartosh when he got to meet him and, I mean, the guy spent two years in the major leagues. The other day when he told me this was where he wanted to go, I was excited. He has a plan now and he has to stick with it to see how far it can take him.”
Bartosh, an assistant coach at SAGU, noted the Waxahachie product will bring a little bit of everything to the field after he steps on campus.
“We are very excited to be bringing on a local guy,” said Bartosh, who appeared in 53 games with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs during the 2004-05 MLB seasons. “He came out here for a workout and just had a lot of good tools. We are very excited to bring him on and think he is very versatile and can help a team in a lot of good ways.”
Though primarily a second baseman with the Indians, Winn played around the diamond and in both corner outfield spots over the past two summers.
“Probably all of that,” added Bartosh when asked where Winn might best find time as a freshman. “We will just wait to see where he fits in best to get the most time on the field as a freshman. And it might even be on the mound. We had him throw a bullpen and he showed some decent stuff on the mound, as well.”
The Lions finished the past season with an 18-10 overall mark and 3-5 record in the Sooner Athletic Conference (NAIA). According to Bartosh, they’ll look to lean on the return of a few seasoned arms and lockdown closer on the bump in 2021.
When asked what he was most excited to bring to the SAGU program, Winn said, “I’m going to give it all I got and help this team win some baseball games.”