It didn’t take Benton freshman Marcus Bates long to make up his mind on his college baseball program once the University of Arkansas extended an offer.

The 2026 shortstop-third baseman prospect, who is also a member of the Arkansas Sticks summer baseball organization, came to a camp on Saturday, got an offer from the Razorbacks and committed to them that night.

“I just like the program and it felt really good getting the offer and I felt good about going ahead and committing there,” Bates said. “It just felt like a place I could go and play baseball and have fun and success.”

Arkansas’ staff of head coach Dave Van Horn, hitting coach Nate Thompson and pitching coach Matt Hobbs made Bates feel at home in Fayetteville.

“They are just fun to be around, felt like family to me,” Bates said.

Sticks founder and head coach Chase Brewster is high on the latest Diamond Hogs pledge, who is 15.

“Marcus is special just because of how strong he is already,” Brewster said. “A lot of times, you see these younger grade kids and they been held back and they are old for their age and they are just men, but Marcus is baby-faced and still strong for his age.”

Bates will play for Benton head coach Mark Balisterri.

“He has got a chance to be special,” Brewster said. “ He’s got  a chance got start at Benton as a freshman at third base, which it is looking like he’ll play. He will probably be a shortstop by trade, but is going to get the unexpected blessing of getting to play third base early at a great high school like Benton for an unbelievable Hall of Fame coach like Coach Balisterri.”

“He’s got a good program and he is running it really well,” Bates said. “Our team is looking good and our pitching should be really good. We should go far this year during the high school season.”

Bates played for the Sticks’ 15-and-under team in Phoenix earlier this month in front of scouts from numerous Major League Baseball organizations.

“Defensive-wise, I did really good and offensively I did really good, too,” Bates said. “It was a a good experience. Probably the best aspect is my defense. I’m good on the offensive side, too, but I just try to work on everything. But defense is the best part.”

Brewster agreed with that sentiment.

“We got to watch him play third base last weekend in Phoenix, Arizona for Sticks at the Perfect Game Invite Tournament and he made some unbelievable plays there,” Brewster said. “He is just a real asset both in the field and offensively.”