Springdale High and Springdale Har-Ber were hoping to play baseball on their own campuses this season, but Mother Nature delayed those plans.
"We had so much rain from the first of November through March, it just slowed everything down," said Wayne Stehlik, athletic director for Springdale Public Schools.
Prep Baseball Standings
North Little Rock^2-5^7-11
BASEBALL STATISTICAL LEADERS
BATTING (through Tuesday, April 9)
MINIMUM 14 AT-BATS
Thornton, Bentonville West^0.500^16^5^8^5^1^0^0^1^4^0.563
Williams, Shiloh Christian^0.446^56^7^25^11^4^0^0^2^1^0.518
Harderson, West Fork^0.444^27^6^12^3^1^2^0^7^9^0.630
Brown, Shiloh Christian^0.444^54^21^24^17^11^1^3^7^2^0.852
Duddleston, Shiloh Christian^0.434^53^14^23^19^4^1^2^4^1^0.660
Jarrett, Bentonville West^0.429^14^8^6^1^2^0^0^4^3^0.571
Serrano, Siloam Springs^0.426^54^17^23^14^7^0^1^9^2^0.611
Allen, West Fork^0.421^19^4^8^4^1^0^0^8^1^0.474
Wood, Springdale Har-Ber^0.407^59^15^24^18^6^0^1^5^15^0.559
Carter, Bentonville West^0.400^15^5^6^6^1^0^0^2^0^0.467
PITCHING (through Tuesday, April 9)
MINIMUM 15 INNINGS
C.Johnson, Van Buren^0.88^3^1^0^31.2^22^7^4^7^34
Partin, FS Southside^1.30^4^1^0^37.2^31^19^7^11^36
Adams, Springdale Har-Ber^1.32^5^0^0^37^21^13^7^17^61
Chaffin, FS Southside^1.82^1^3^0^19.2^23^13^5^5^21
Williams, Shiloh Christian^1.97^3^0^0^32^15^13^9^17^56
Acuff, Springdale Har-Ber^2.07^2^2^3^23.2^16^13^7^8^29
Instead, the Tyson Sports Complex is again home to the Red Bulldogs for all their home games and some for Har-Ber. The Wildcats have also played several home games at Arvest Ballpark the last few years.
But Stehlik says both teams will play on their respective campuses next season. Har-Ber already has a field on campus, and the Wildcats utilize it for practice. But Springdale's field is still under construction next to the indoor football facility.
"It's been a great partnership between the city and Springdale Public Schools," Stehlik said. "But I'm excited to see our kids walk across the street to go play, and our students can finish class and go watch the Bulldogs and the Wildcats."
Springdale coach Scott Johnson is grateful for what the city has done to give his team a place to play and practice but said it's not without challenges.
"In all honesty, it's a tough task to get kids across town to practice," Johnson said. "It's not easy dealing with the younger kids who can't drive. It will be great for our district."
Rogers High and Rogers Heritage are hopeful to move from Veterans Park to their own on-campus baseball fields.
The Rogers School Board voted in February to move forward with a large-scale facilities improvement plan, which includes construction of on-campus baseball fields at both high schools.
Rogers coach Matt Melson echoed some of Johnson's comments about transporting younger players across town but pointed out some other issues, too.
"A large majority of our student body doesn't know where we play," Melson said. "It will be a good thing to be on campus and be visible there. We don't get started until 30 minutes after we get out of class, and that's if everybody's really efficient and have no traffic issues.
"Early in the season, you're fighting the sun going down and colder temperatures. It may seem small, but extra time is big to a baseball team and coach. The city's been gracious to us. But having something we can call our own is something people are looking forward to, I believe."
Charles Lee, assistant superintendent for Rogers Public Schools, said he's hopeful the baseball fields will be ready for competition next season.
Wolverines claim share of 6A-West lead
Bentonville West coach Chip Durham calls it John Wayne baseball.
The Wolverines (12-7, 6-2 6A-West) stress toughness and won't put up with excuses. That combination has them tied for the 6A-West Conference lead passing the halfway point in league play.
"We talk about no excuses; it's on the back of our shirts," Durham said.
West came up with a big sweep of defending state champion Springdale Har-Ber, and it was done without senior lead-off man Will Jarrett, who was sidelined with an illness. But coach Chip Durham tinkered with the lineup a bit, moving nine-hole hitter Hunter Mayes to the lead-off spot, and the team managed to gut out two tough wins -- 5-1 in 9 innings and 3-1.
Pitching was the big key for West this week as it allowed just two runs over 16 innings against Har-Ber. It was Mayes who came on to notch the save in game two after starter Maddux Thornton reached his pitch-count limit. He got the final two outs, including a strikeout of Har-Ber's Blake Adams with the bases loaded to end the game.
The senior also jump-started the offense during game one, drawing a walk to start the ninth inning with a tough 10-pitch at-bat and later scored the go-ahead run. The Wolverines would go on to score four runs to snap a 1-1 tie and go on to the victory. West also won game two, scoring three runs on only two hits.
Durham said his team's toughness showed as it never flinched in two hard-fought games, despite missing Jarrett.
"He's hitting in the mid-300s with a .500 on-base percentage," Durham said. "That's a big loss. But we preach next man up."
Durham and his coaching staff have stressed a combination of fundamentals and work in the weight room to see his team mature into a conference contender this season.
"We spend a lot of time in the weight room," Durham said. "You look through our lineup, and we've got a few football players. What you're seeing right now is the development of those younger kids. Teaching the fundamentals and the physical aspect both coming together. I think we're seeing the dividends from that."
Pitcher Dylan Carter, a Crowder College commit, doesn't play football, but he's improved his strength, Durham said. Carter, who started at catcher the past two seasons, has gone from a low 70s fastball as a sophomore to upper 80s and touching 90 this season.
Thornton does play football but didn't pitch a year ago because of some arm issues. But he's also jumped from the mid-70s two years ago to 85-86 this season with his fastball.
West takes on Rogers Heritage next week in conference play, and it won't be looking past the War Eagles despite their 2-6 league mark, Durham said.
Elks off to strong start
Elkins coach Jeff Eddleman thought his team had a chance for success this season since it returns seven starters from last year's state tournament team.
The Elks finished fourth in the region but lost in extra innings in the opening round of the state tournament to Region champion Clinton.
But the defense has been the name of the game for Elkins (10-2, 6-0 3A-1 West) thus far this season, Eddleman said. The Elks have notched four one-run victories, so defense has been key.
"So far I'm pleased with what's going on," said Eddleman, who is in his 31st year at Elkins. "Right now our defense is keeping us in games. We've got talent in nine spots on defense. Everybody can play, and that's making a big difference.
"We've got four senior starters, and they're doing a great job from a leadership aspect."
Senior Trey Vance, a three-year starter, leads the team with a .564 batting average followed by a four-year starter at third base Will Trollinger, who is hitting .455. Junior Bryce Parrish is 6-0 on the mound.
Senior Camren Dunn is another four-year starter who played second base for three years before moving to shortstop this season. Cole Wilhite is the fourth of the senior quartet and starts in right field.
Depth is something the Elks are also blessed with if necessary, Eddleman said.
"We've got some on the bench that any other year probably would be starting," Eddleman said.
The 3A-1 West is split into divisions this year with Elkins, Greenland, Lincoln and West Fork in the north. Charleston, Cedarville, Mansfield and Waldron make up the south division. The Elks lead the north division with two weeks left in the regular season. They also tagged Charleston, the south division leader, with its lone loss earlier this season 6-5.
The district tournament will be played at Cedarville this year, while West Fork will host the regional tournament.
Sports on 04/12/2019
Print Headline: PREP BASEBALL REPORT