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Arkansas high school baseball notebook (March 27-31)

News and notes this week around Arkansas prep baseball



The Bulldogs have surprised a few teams this season taking on mainly 2A competition given their location in South Arkansas. They currently sit atop the 1A-8 standings tied with No. 1 Taylor at 2-0 with a 5-3 overall record. Junior Jackson Cole leads the team with a .625 batting average while senior Payton Scaife is hitting .588 on the year with a team leading nine runs batted in.

Senior Dakota Williams is holding opponents to an anemic .077 average in limited action. He has only allowed one hit in over four innings of work. Scaife and Zander Rice have gotten the bulk of the innings so far this year for the Bulldogs. Rice leads the team in innings pitched and are holding teams to a .245 average. The biggest test of the season is March 30th as Hampton takes on the defending state champion Taylor Tigers in a game that will likely decide the conference champion as well.


The Longhorns were off to a great start this season winning their first four games then they struggled in the Forrest Wood Memorial tournament over spring break. Things have gone much better this week as they have outscored Mammoth Spring and Calico Rock by a combined 33-0. They are hitting .358 as a team with Gavin Blevins leading the way hitting .529 followed by Braden Williams at an even .500 on the year. Blevins and Jenkins Clifton lead the team with twelve runs batted in each.

Pitching and defense has been up and down this season with the pitching staff boasting a 3.37 ERA and opponents are batting .213. Williams has been just effective on the mound as he has at the plate racking up 40 strikeouts to only 10 walks in his five starts this season. The defense has fielded just .926 so far and if they can cut down on errors, then expect this tradition rich program to be in the hunt for a state title come May.



The Lions had great expectations coming into the 2023 season and so far, the results have been pretty good. They have hit 14 homeruns as a team through 18 games and they are averaging eight runs per game. Braedon has a team high four homeruns and 21 runs batted in. Kase Davis has been a good two-way player as he is second on the team in runs batted in with 20 and leads the pitching staff with a 1.98 earned run average. Trey Smith is 2-0 with a 2.70 earned run average over 23 innings pitched. An early season win over No.1 Woodlawn gave this team confidence that hopefully can carry them through the third weekend in May.


The Warriors are not traditional baseball powers, but this team has surprised people this season. The Lady Warriors are off to their best start in program history and the baseball team is trying to follow suit. They currently sit at 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play. They split their conference doubleheader with league leader Greenland, a team that was in 3A last season and returns nine starters. In what would be considered an upset in the baseball community, the Warriors defeated Viola 9-8 at the Forrest Wood Classic. The winning margin could have been larger had the Warriors not stranded 17 base runners.

Ty Tilton has not allowed an earned run over his last two starts and he has 18 strikeouts over that span as well. Will Morris had the game winning sac-fly in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Viola and Kolby Vinson has been swinging a hot bat along with logging good innings on the mound. The season is still young but these Warriors are representing their community with pride in 2023.



Elkins has remained No. 2 in the SBLive Super 7 the entire season to this point. Hunter Corbell’s squad plays the game the right way and with a sense of swagger. They are currently 8-1 on the season and undefeated in conference. They have outscored their three conference opponents by a combined score of 84-2 in six games. They swept West Fork on Monday by scores of 9-0 and 7-0.

Joven Bell has not allowed a run in his three starts and only allowed five hits over 14 and 2/3 innings. Caleb Hankins and Dizzy Dean have been very good as well, helping the team to an outstanding team earned run average of 1.86. Opposing teams are hitting an anemic .173 on the season. Trace Keller is hitting .467 and Landon Martin leads the team with a .500 average for the players with at least 20 at bats. Zanuel Martin has shown off his power with eight extra base hits including three homeruns. Keller and Z. Martin are tied for the team lead with 13 runs batted in each.


The Bearcats have enjoyed plenty of success in their history. With a team full of two-sport and in some cases three-sport athletes, it is no wonder why the entire athletic program has been successful over the last quarter century. They are currently ranked sixth in the 3A rankings and undefeated in conference play. A conference title will likely come down to how they fare against rival Charleston.

Brooks Herrera recovered from a knee injury sustained early last fall and is back to full strength. The senior is committed to Carl Albert (Okla.) State for next year. He recently had a complete game victory over Danville allowing five hits while racking up nine strikeouts in the 16-4 win. Jace Washburn had a complete game shutout over Clarksville earlier this week. Peyton Tatum and Dax Goff paced the offense the last two weeks. Goff leads the team and is in the top ten in the state in homeruns with five round trippers.



The Tigers have been on the prowl this season. They won nine of their first 10 games, including seven straight before dropping a non-conference matchup to Pottsville on Monday. Prairie Grove was ranked No. 6 heading into their conference showdown with No. 3 Huntsville. They are almost guaranteed to move up after their 11-10 upset win over the Eagles.

Conner Hubbs and Owen Davenport combined for ten strikeouts in the win over Huntsville. Hubbs was also 3 for 5 at the plate with a pair of doubles and three runs batted in. Hubbs threw a no-hitter against 3A Elkins last week. The lefty had eleven strikeouts. Ryder Orr had key hits in the win over Huntsville and was solid in relief with five strikeouts on the mound against Dardanelle.


The Diamond Birds moved up to No. 5 in the recent 4A rankings coming off a nig non-conference win over Shiloh Christian along with remaining perfect in 4A-8 conference play. Head coach Dontrell Brown was a star on the state runner-up Ricebirds squad his senior season and he had brought that winning mentality back to the diamond this season.

Landon Melnychuk took a perfect game into the last inning against Hamburg two weeks ago. He has been consistent on the mound and at the plate. Jack Reinhart has logged quality innings as well getting a complete game victory over Beebe. He also helped himself offensively launching a three run homerun in the 3-1 win. Dylan Duncan, Ross Atkinson and Jatavian Gaddy have had their share of highlights in the past two weeks that have seen the Ricebirds improve their overall to 7-2 and maintain a two game lead in conference play.



The Pioneers made a run last season to the semifinals and came up short. They lost four players to graduation that are now playing college baseball and now the younger guys are stepping up this season. Razorback Commit Mark Brissey has taken over as the pitching staff ace and he has looked the part. He has only allowed five hits in five appearances and has yet to allow an earned run. Beau Baxter is proving to be just as effective with an earned run average of 0.88 while holding opponents to a .103 batting average.

The pitching and defense has been ahead of the offense so far this season but things are picking up after the Pioneers scored 25 runs in a doubleheader sweep over West Memphis. Brissey hit his first homerun of the season in game one. Conner Cunningham has been a run scoring and run producing machine this season. He leads the team in triples and homeruns and has scored 21 runs through 12 games. Expect this team to keep getting better as the season progresses and a state tournament run Is not out of the question.


The defending 5A state champions won their first six games of the season. They ran into a very talented Goodpasture team in a spring break tournament last week a battled for five innings before the Cougars tacked on a few runs to make the final margin 6-2. A much anticipated doubleheader with Valley View took place on Tuesday this week with the Blazers sweeping the Patriots 3-0 and 4-1. Expectations are as high as they have ever been for this program so don’t expect to see this team rollover.

Davis York had a brilliant performance in Game 1 against Valley View. The 6’4 junior tossed a complete game while striking out 10 hitters. On the season, York has 44 strikeouts compared to only six walks while boasting a 1.35 earned run average. Jett Sutton and Cohen Bumbaugh have been very good compliments to York combining for 46 strikeouts and an earned run average of 2.57. Connor Taylor and Matthew Kearney lead the Patriots on offense was batting averages of .457 and .455 respectively. Taylor also leads the team with 18 runs batted in while Bumbaugh leads the team with six extra base hits. If the offense can catch up to the pitching and defense then Marion will be in contention again for another state championship.



The Rockets have been in and out of our SBLive rankings in class 6A but not much was expected after losing most of their pitching rotation and most of their starting lineup to graduation. Pitcher Caleb Short has performed as well as anyone in the state and his numbers back it up. While he didn’t get the decision in an extra innings conference opener against Cabot, he went seven innings allowing a single run matching UCA commit Aden Velasquez inning for inning. Short is only a sophomore and that is bad news for the rest of the 6A Central conference.

Junior Brooks Ward leads the Rocket offense was an average of .455. Ward has four homeruns and 15 runs batted in on the season while playing a lock down centerfield. Coming off an all-state performance for the football team, Ward has really started to play up to his potential on the diamond. Evan Booe is the senior leader in the middle of the field and top of the lineup. Booe is second on the team in hitting at .375 and tied for the team lead in doubles. Runs will be at a premium against conference favorites Conway and Bryant so if this offense can get going, Catholic will be very dangerous the second half of the season.


What a month it has been for the War Eagles. After dropping the first two games of the season to Springdale Har-Ber, Heritage has won 14 straight games and are now sitting in second place in the rough and tough nine team 6A West. Heritage won the prestigious Gul Shores (Ala.) Showdown last week going 6-0 and only allowing 8 runs during the tournament. The culture has changed since Brian Walker took over. A semi-final run in 2022 with a state tournament win over crosstown rival Rogers was just the beginning. Luke Askew has turned in some big-time performances this season on the mound. Askew tossed a shutout last week in Gulf Shores and earned a save in the second win against Southside this week. Aiden Adair led the War Eagles going 3 for 3 with a homerun and three runs batted in against the Mavericks. Jack Hamm and Bennett Crafton also chipped in with two hits each in the 6-4 win over Southside in game one. Heritage still has a chance to win a conference championship this season if they take care of business which was something that was not possible before Walker came back to northwest Arkansas. Keep an eye on this bunch, they are fun to watch and play the game the right way.