Liles Voted onto CoSIDA All-District Academic Team

Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Athletics, Honors


liles cosida 2014

Named one of the top academic softball players in the West Region, senior Lacy Liles (Elysian Fields, Texas) was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team for her grades and athletic awards.  This is the fourth year in a row that ETBU has had a player named academic all-district.

“This is a well-earned award by Lacy as she was voted the top second baseman in the region academically,” says ETBU Director of Sports Information Adam P. Ledyard.  “Earning this award is very hard with the competition in such a large region.  It’s always an honor to have a player named to the CoSIDA all-district team.”

There are 21 states in the West Region and Canada that have NCAA Division III programs where players were nominated from.  The first team has only 13 players selected as five were selected for the infield.

Liles carries a grade point average of 3.8 as a business major, is a two-time All-ASC first-team selection, a NFCA All-American second-team selection, and a three-time ASC hitter of the week.  She helped ETBU to the 2013 ASC tournament championship and to two straight NCAA Division III tournament appearances.

The First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

The Academic All-District® teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. This is the third year of the expanded Academic All-America® program as CoSIDA moved from recognizing a University Division (Division I) and a College Division (all non Division I) and has doubled the number of scholar-athletes honored. The expanded teams include NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division Academic All-America® Team combines NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools.

To be nominated an athlete has to have a 3.5 grade point average or higher and be in attendance at the school for at least two semesters.




Alford Named to NFF’s Hampshire Honor Society

Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Athletics, Honors


alford post season award

Being a true student-athlete at NCAA Division III balancing being a football player and pursuing his academic goals, East Texas Baptist University’s Jacob Alford was given another academic award from the National Football Foundation.  Alford was a NFF scholar-athlete earlier this year for his grades and work on and off the field and now will be a member of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society.

“Jacob is such a great person to be around and has a strong work ethic,” says head coach Joshua Eargle.  “I am not surprised that he has been given these awards as he has earned everything that has been given to him.”

Alford recently graduated with an education degree after playing four years for ETBU as an offensive lineman.  He was an All-ASC selection, preseason all-American, and won the ASC’s sportsmanship award.  Below are the qualifications to make it into the Hampshire Honor Society.

Qualifications for membership in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society include:

  • Being a starter or a significant contributor in one’s last year of eligibility (or a senior who has declared for the NFL Draft) at an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III or an NAIA college or university;
  • Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and
  • Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

The Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization’s rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl “Red” Blaik, the NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.4 million to 787 top scholars and community leaders.


She Fished and Caught a Bass Worth $500

Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni

ETBU alumnae Allison Ratcliff holds up her "money bass" caught during the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza fishing tournament. Standing next to Allison is her brother, Mike Ratcliff, who was fishing with her when she landed the 5.88 bass and the title of Top Female Angler of the tournament.  Photo Courtesy of Allison's Facebook page.

ETBU alumnae Allison Ratcliff holds up her “money bass” caught during the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza fishing tournament. Standing next to Allison is her brother, Mike Ratcliff, who was fishing with her when she landed the 5.88 bass and the title of Top Female Angler of the tournament. Photo Courtesy of Allison’s Facebook page.

Fishing can be a very relaxing outing on a beautiful afternoon on your favorite lake.  This past weekend East Texas Baptist University alumna and former All-American Lady Tiger softball player Allison Ratcliff spent time fishing in the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza 2014 held at Lake O’ The Pines.

The relaxing part turned into an adrenaline rush as Ratcliff caught a 5.88 lb. bass fishing with a white spinner bait. The catch made her the Top Female Angler during the bass tournament and received a nice check for $500. She picked up additional prize earnings as her fish came in second in the heaviest fish of the hour competition held each day during the two-day tournament. Alison was fishing with her brother, Mike Ratcliff, when she made the money catch.

According to tournament officials over 1800 anglers participated in the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza.   The overall winner was Larry McNeese, who landed a 7.79 pound bass on Saturday, claiming the top spot winning $105,000 in cash and prizes.

ETBU was also one of the sponsors for the two-day event held by the Longview radio station.


Blankenship Wins ASC Championship in High Jump

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

blankenship  high

Crowning an American Southwest Conference champion in the first day of competition, East Texas Baptist University’s Cody Blankenship became the first champion for the Tigers.  ETBU took four athletes to Abilene for the championships as two competed on day one.

Blankenship cleared 6’8.75” to win the field over five other participants with his best height of the year.  His leap was over four inches more than the second place finisher and should propel him into the top 10 in the NCAA standings tied for 10th place.


Affolter Gains ETBU’s First-Ever All-ASC Award

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

tennis hm

As the East Texas Baptist University men’s tennis program continues to grow in their third year, they received their first-ever All-ASC team award.  Terry Affolter has been named to the All-ASC honorable mention team.

“I can’t be more excited for Terry,” says head coach Jeff Bramlett.  “He almost didn’t play this year but we convinced him to come out and now he is making history.  We are happy as a program for him.”

Affolter went 7-7 on the year in singles play and was 6-6 in the #3 singles position.  In the ASC, he was 4-6 overall.  In singles play he finished 4-9 at #2 doubles with partner Jeremy Rhodes.

This is just the second award for ETBU in men’s tennis as Tyler Tolopka was named the ASC East’s freshman of the year last year.

ETBU won a program record four matches this year and fell in three matches, 5-4.


Liles 11 RBI, 4 HRs Makes Her ASC Hitter of Week

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

liles hitter of the week

Putting together her best series of the year, Lacy Liles has been named American Southwest Conference Hitter of the Week.  Liles hit over .500 on the weekend in her final home games of year.

Recording 11 RBI, she batted .545 with all six of her hits in the series for extra bases with four home runs and two doubles.  She tied career highs in games for hits (3), runs scored (3), and home runs (2) while establishing a new career high of 6 RBI in game one of the series vs. SRSU.  In the first game of the series she went off the charts going 3-of-3 for 6 RBI including two home runs and a double scoring three times.  She hit a home run in every game of the series.  She posted a 1.818 slugging percentage and a .545 on base percentage.  She now has two or more hits in 14 games this year and 19 of her 44 hits are for extra bases.  In the double header on Friday, she was 4-of-7 with four runs scored and 9 RBI with 3 home runs.  Her first home run in game one made it 4-0 with a three-run shot and then she had another 3-run home run in the fourth inning for a 9-0 lead.  In the win on Saturday, she had a two-run shot to make it 15-0 in the 21-0 win.

ETBU will be put into the NCAA Division III record book tying the record for most home runs hit in an inning with four and is now third all-time for home runs hit in a game with seven.

This is the seventh award this year for ETBU in players of the week and the first for Lindsey.  ETBU is currently 35-5 and the #2 seed in the upcoming ASC Tournament.  They are also ranked seventh in the nation in the NFCA National Poll.


TigerCompass Wins Best News Story at TIPA

Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Honors

compass april 19

The TigerCompass, East Texas Baptist University’s student-produced campus newspaper, was honored at this year’s Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in San Antonio April 10 with the Division III “Best News Story” award in the newspaper division.

Former ETBU student Angelina Vannicola received the award for her story on the Boston bombing and the impact it had on ETBU coaches Natalie and Michael Prather, who were at the event when the bombs exploded. Natalie was a contestant in the marathon, but had already crossed the finish line before the bombs went off.

This is the first year the TigerCompass has entered the TIPA competition. Forty-seven schools and more than 500 students took part in the competitions this year. Winning the award for best news writing is quite an accomplishment, according to TigerCompass adviser Dr. Dennis Robertson.

“There are so many schools and so many participants, to win Honorable Mention would have been a good thing,” Dr. Robertson said. “To win best news story was quite an accomplishment.”

To read the winning story by Vannicola click here.


Shear Love

Posted by Tiger Pride in Spiritual Life, Student Life

East Texas Baptist University junior Payton Beggs, before Shear Love and afte Shear Love.  Photo by Layne Bruno.

East Texas Baptist University junior Payton Beggs, before Shear Love and after Shear Love. Photo by Layne Bruno.

East Texas Baptist University students, faculty and staff rallied together and initially raised $5,500 during a fundraiser called Shear Love.  The Shear Love effort raised funds to help two people battling with cancer.  A total of 21 people put their hair on the line as donors were asked to stuff jars with cash with a photo of each of the volunteers pasted on it. The money raised by each person determined the type of hair cut they would receive. The hair cutting for Shear Love occurred Monday, April 21 in the Ornelas Student Center and an additional $500 came in after the event.

Tiger Pride interviewed junior Payton Beggs of Wichita Falls, she was one of the student organizers for the event, after she got her hair cut for the cause.

TIGER PRIDE: Why did you get involved?

BEGGS: A group of us wanted to organize a fundraiser to help fellow student Nathan Mathias and Jessica Bendo, sister of student Gabrielle Garcia. Some kind of hair sacrifice thing was our big fundraiser idea. After discussing details and nailing down some ideas, we decided to call the fundraiser “Shear Love.” Because I was a part of the planning, it made sense to put my hair on the line. I figured it was the least I could do for Nathan (one of the most selfless people I know) and for Gabrielle (who has been such an encouragement to me since I’ve known her). Both are incredible ministry partners and my dear friends. For all that they have done for me, organizing this fundraiser and sacrificing my hair was the least I could do.

TIGER PRIDE: What can you say about the support from the students?

BEGGS:  I was completely blown away by the support from the students. Students were dropping big bucks into the mason jars, and there were students emptying out their coin purses every day to save their friends from losing their hair.

Sacrifice is tough, and I think students saw the sacrifice from the beginning and were encouraged and challenged by those who were willing to sacrifice their hair. I was even blown away by those who put their hair on the line. They fundraised at their home churches, from the Marshall community, and solicited donations from professors who have been incredibly supportive. It was a unique fundraiser, which helped us get support from students. It was also a chance to be a part of something greater than ourselves. There was a need in our ETBU community, and students came together and did what we could the meet that need- even if they don’t know Nathan or  Jessica.

TIGER PRIDE: Do you know how many who had jars to donate in?

BEGGS: I’m not sure about exact numbers, but I think there were 8 girls and 9 guys with jars. There was also Buck Buchanan,  our beloved maintenance man, who would have given up his beard if $500 were put in his jar. The deciding factor for the girls’ cuts was their place in fundraising. The less you rose in comparison with the other girls, the shorter your hair was. The deciding factor for the guys was similar to an auction. The highest bidder for one guy’s head got to cut that guy’s hair, or at least decide what they wanted it to look like.

TIGER PRIDE: Was it just students or did ETBU staff and faculty get involved?

BEGGS: Baptist Student Ministry Director Mark Yates was our biggest organizer and advocate for the fundraiser, and he also put his hair and facial hair on the line. ETBU staff and faculty have donated money and given so much encouragement to their students. I emailed almost every professor or faculty member that I had ever come in contact with, asking for donations. They were more than willing to give and were also lifting up Nathan and the family of Gabrielle in prayer.

To read the Longview News-Journal story about  Shear Love, click here.


Re-sil-ince [ri-zil-yuhs ns]

Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Athletics, Faculty/Staff


ETBU Cross Country Coach Natalie Bach-Prather (far right) gives instruction to Tiger runner Landon Price of Mount Vernon during the Centenary Invitational. Photo courtesy of ETBU Sports Information.

ETBU Cross Country Coach Natalie Bach-Prather (far right) gives instruction to Tiger runner Landon Price of Mount Vernon during the Centenary Invitational. Photo courtesy of ETBU Sports Information.

Re-sil-ience [ri-zil-yuh ns] – the ability to recover readily from adversity, or the like.

As some 36,000 runners raced in the Boston Marathon on Monday  (April 21) with an estimated one million gathering on the 26.2 mile course to show support of the runners and remember the ones who died and were injured, “resilience” is the word that comes to mind after last year’s tragic bombing at the finish line.

As I heard the news last year for the first time that a bomb exploded near the finish line my mind wondered quickly, “Is East Texas Baptist University Cross Country coach Natalie Bach-Prather okay?”

I knew she was running in the 2013 race.  As I checked various social media outlets I saw the post from Natalie’s husband, Michael that she was okay. Natalie had crossed the finished line about 5 minutes after the bomb went off.

Natalie, 2008 graduate of ETBU, raced again in the Boston Marathon finishing with a time of 3:36:20.  Last week on a report by KSLA-TV about how Americans just can’t be shaken the Marshall native said, “You can’t stop us. We’ll show up every year in bigger, stronger, better numbers.”

Yes, resilience is the word that comes to mind.

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” –Psalm 37:24 (NLT)

To read more about Natalie’s experience at the 2014 Boston Marathon, click here.


ETBU Sweeps Player of the Week Awards

Posted by Tiger Pride in Athletics, Honors

ETBU senior Alyssa Romero (left) hit .444 with six RBI. Senior Shelby Parker allowed no runs in two wins with 13 strikeouts.

ETBU senior Alyssa Romero (left) hit .444 with six RBI. Senior Shelby Parker allowed no runs in two wins with 13 strikeouts.

The 7th ranked East Texas Baptist University Lady Tigers have swept this week’s American Southwest Conference Player of the Week Awards for games played April 14-20.

ETBU senior Alyssa Romero was named Hitter of the Week with senior Shelby Parker garnering the Pitcher of the Week Award.



HITTER OF THE WEEK: Alyssa Romero, Sr., OF, East Texas Baptist
Outfielder Alyssa Romero (Humble, Texas/Atascosita HS) recorded a hit in every game of the series including a grand slam in the 9-0 game three win with a 2-of-3 showing at the plate. She had a .889 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage. In the 11-1 win, she had a double in the 10-run eighth inning to make it 11-1. In the fourth inning of the final game, Romero slugged a grand slam to make it 9-0 sealing the shortened nine-inning game. She also had two sacrifice hits in game one and two of the series. Her four RBI in game three tied a career high.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Shelby Parker, Sr., RHP, East Texas Baptist
Pitcher Shelby Parker (Brazoria, Texas/Columbia HS) recorded another two shutouts pitching a complete game, seven inning win (5-0) in the first game of the series and then a 9-0 five-inning win in the final game. Parker struck out six in game one and then seven in her final appearance. She retired the first nine batters faced in game one striking out the side to start the game and then retired the side once in the final game. Parker has now pitched 27 straight innings without giving up any runs and has 10 shutouts on the year. She now also has five straight shutouts in her last five appearances.

ETBU will finish out the regular season at home this Friday and Saturday with a three-game series with Sul Ross State.