It was a bittersweet return for former Bison baseball coach B.J. Greene when his Heber Springs Panthers lost to Carlisle 7-3 at Rockefeller Park on March 7.
The game was Greene’s fifth as the head coach the Class 4A Panthers. He became Heber Springs coach after his Bison team went 29-7 last year, finishing as Class 2A state runners-up.
"It was weird," Greene said after the game. "It’s a different feeling. You get to see all the kids you coached for four or five years. It gets you in the gut a little bit."
Greene is the most successful coach in 25-year history of Bison baseball. He coached the Bison to three state tournament appearances. He won two conference titles, one regional title and one district tournament title in five seasons.
"There is no better town," Greene said of Carlisle. "That is my honest opinion. The people here are great. They come to help you with anything you need. You’ve got great kids.
"We’ve got great kids and good people at Heber Springs too. I’m proud of my kids at Heber and they are working hard for us but Carlisle is a very special town. It’s just a unique place. The kids are unique. It’s an amazing place."
The Panthers were 1-4 following the loss at Carlisle last week.
Current Bison coach William Rountree said he and his players love Greene.
"But when you think about this baseball program in my era, and I know Rieke Stewart had some good teams but what Coach Greene did here is totally amazing," Rountree said after his team’s win. "I kidded him, saying I didn’t know much work went in to coaching baseball.
"I’m so fortunate to have Steve Reed helping me. Just the work on the field, time spent, throwing batting practice … he [Greene] did just a great great job here. I think us winning tonight isn’t anything I’ve done. It’s our kids, under his tutelage. I know he’s disappointed that he lost tonight but I know he’s proud of the guys that he coached who played well."