EDITOR’S NOTE: Arkansas High baseball games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Texarkana 97.1 FM and 1400 AM. Mike DelGiorno will handle the play-by-play commentary.
It was cold and wet at Razorback Field Thursday. Arkansas High baseball coach Layne Berry took his young players to the Hardy House on campus to teach on-the-field situations.
Berry knows his Razorbacks have the skill-sets to be successful. If they can conquer the classroom aspect of the game, Arkansas High could be really good in 2019. AHS was 19-10 last season, losing to eventual state champion Greenwood at the state tournament.
“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team; chemistry is the deal,” Arkansas High’s sixth-year head coach said. “If we all come together as a team, and play together, I think we’ll have a great run and great year.”
Berry changed his evaluation for this year’s squad last summer. The Razorbacks graduated six seniors, five being everyday starters. Three of those players are now playing college ball. Austin Nix is playing football at the University of Arkansas; Dylan Adcock baseball at Harding University; and Wren Willliams baseball at Central Arkansas.
Razorbacks loaded with college prospects
Arkansas High has at least four more Division I prospects on the current roster. Junior Cody Adcock is committed to Ole Miss. Multi-talented Nicholas “Jackson” Harris missed the 2018 baseball season with an ACL injury. He’s back and committed to Arkansas State University. Sophomore transfer Braylon Bishop is expected to play in the outfield and pitch this season. He’s committed to the University of Arkansas.
The talent doesn’t stop there. Drake Browning is back for his senior campaign. He’s been at the top of the offensive statistics in 6A baseball the last two years. Browning has been penciled in as the Hogs’ second starter on the mound. He’ll be in center when he’s not pitching.
Liberty-Eylau transfer Preston Bunch could be the Razorbacks’ starting third baseman. He is the son of former major leaguer Melvin Bunch.
All of Berry’s starting pitchers are also position players. Arkansas High’s coach is moving Adcock from shortstop to first, hoping to save his arm. Bishop will play center when Browning is on the mound, and could be in right, or at first when Browning is in center.
“Bishop is one heck’uva an athlete,” Berry said. “He swings the ball really well, and he’s a lefty.”
Martin moving from second to catcher
Braylen Dyer at second. Graydon Martin started at second last season, but is being moved to catcher. Sophomore Darby Sawyer will be Martin’s backup. There’s also a competition for the starting job in left. Floyd Hill, Danti Valenti, and Logan Rhinehart are possibilities in the outfield.
Jackson Harris and Kade Clinton may be coming out of the bullpen for the Razorbacks.
Berry is expecting a run at the conference crown, but going down in classification didn’t help the baseball team.
“Every year it’s the same old guys; Benton and Sheridan are always right there,” he said. “We’ve also got El Dorado, Lake Hamilton, Lakeside, and a couple of Little Rock schools in our conference. Only four get to the state tournament, and it’s going to be a grind. Dropping in class didn’t help us one bit in baseball.”
Arkansas High’s season begins Feb. 26 at home against New Boston, Texas.