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In-State Diamond Hogs Making Big Impact For Arkansas
By Chris Frye | email@example.com
Staying close to home is something most high school athletes consider as a last resort when selecting their choice of college.
But then there are others who welcome the opportunity of playing near home, in front of family on a regular basis.
"It's kind of all crazy that we're all here now. It's pretty awesome." says Tyler Spoon
From facing one another in high school to joining forces at Arkansas. The Diamond Hogs currently have 15 in-state players on the roster.. but five of those guys are making a big impact on the season.
Tyler Spoon from Van Buren...Blake Baxendale from Rogers and the pitching trio of Farmington's, Chris Oliver, Jalen Beeks from Prairie Grove and Mountain Home native, Trey Killian.
"I take pride in it and I'm sure Oliver and Beeks do as well and the rest of the in-state guys. And I feel like the fans really feed off of that. You know, a hometown kid, a home state kid. They're really pulling for those guys." says Trey Killian
"It's exciting to see all of the talent. I grew up playing against Chris Oliver and Beeks all of the time. And now.. all to be together, it's kind of cool. It's really encouraging to see all of that." says Spoon
"Baseball in the state of Arkansas has gotten a lot better, especially in the last 10 years, and I've been here 12. Just the number of players that are going to Division One schools, Junior Colleges. Whether they're going to the SEC or different leagues in the country." says Dave Van Horn
Unlike Beeks....Killian and Oliver pitched from nearby communities, within 10-minutes of Baum Stadium. Even with that close distance... they still weren't on Arkansas' radar, until late in the recruiting period..when they grabbed the attention of pitching coach, Dave Jorn.
"Thinking that two local kids, from two smaller high schools are starting in the SEC. It makes me proud and it shows you how good Coach Jorn is. He's done a great job of those guys." says Van Horn
The contributions by this group of in-state players on the Hogs season.. will hopefully set a precendent of having future Razorbacks...stay close to home.
"Hopefully it gives kids in Arkansas hope that they can be here one day and help out the Razorbacks the most that they can." says Spoon