After a season that featured the school’s first state tournament win since 2012, Lonoke’s baseball Jackrabbits have continued together into the summer.
“The more you play the game, the better you get at it,” coach Chris Foor said. “I told them, ‘Let’s represent our town.’”
The extended high school team is playing in a Senior Babe Ruth league against Camden Fairview, Hazen and Pine Bluff.
“We play doubleheaders Monday and Wednesday, then we’ll play in two tournaments,” Foor said. “We’ll be done the last week in June. I’m a strong believer that the kids need a break, and at Lonoke we like to share our athletes.
“I want the kids to be fully focused on football in the fall. (Football) Coach (Taggart) Moore and (basketball) Coach (Dean) Campbell were great in the spring to make baseball the priority.”
Designated hitter Chris Cooper is playing on a showcase team this summer, but otherwise, Foor has pretty much kept his Jackrabbits together on two teams divided by age. He is coaching the older group, assisted by former Jackrabbits Lane Moore, Nick Watson and Zack Risner. Greg Lingo is head coach of the younger group.
While Foor said he didn’t keep stats during the summer, the Jackrabbits were making progress.
“We’re working on things right now,” he said Sunday. “We are right around .500. The young guys are in the process of learning at a higher speed. We played a team from Camden Fairview that had some college players returning, and that was a great experience for my kids to see where they need to get to.
“They’re learning our system having to think on the fly. I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen as the kids have stepped up as leaders. I’m excited about next year.”
He said rising senior Kade Stuart had been impressive.
“He is by far our best hitter — our returning 4 hole — and No. 1 pitcher,” Foor said. “He’s had a fantastic summer. He’s getting looks from some good colleges now. He has become our vocal leader as well as a mentor. I really like that.
“Another pitcher who’s done well is (junior) Hunter Kyzer. Last week against that team with college players, he went six innings and gave up one run. He was right at 60 pitches. He’s shown a lot of get-up-and-go.”
Foor also praised rising juniors Dalton Smith and Julian Medina.
“They have really stepped up and are growing into their roles,” Foor said.