The Valley View to Arkansas baseball pipeline is a strong one right now.

Keaton Mathis, a 2026 catcher, infielder and right handed pitching prospect, became the second current member of the Blazers to to commit to the Razorbacks when he did so on Sunday.

Mathis joins Valley View  2024 catcher Lawson Ward in pledging to Arkansas over Ole Miss and others.

“I came to a camp at Arkansas two weeks ago and just loved the coaches, the facilities and everything that the baseball program has to offer,” Mathis said. “The coaches just made it feel like home.

“Then I went to Ole Miss, visited there and went to one of their camps, but it wasn’t the same as Arkansas. I mean Arkansas was fantastic and the played a big part in my decision. Arkansas is just absolutely amazing.”

Arkansas Sticks coach Chase Brewster is excited about Mathis, who plays for Valley View head coach Josh Allison.

“Keaton is a special special player, and can really catch and throw,” Brewster said. “ He’s a catcher at Valley View, who has a tremendous program. Coach Allison does such a great job there. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the same high school have two catchers both committed to the University of Arkansas, with Keaton and junior Lawson Ward. 

“Keaton is so talented, and he gets to learn from an older veteran like Lawson. Keaton can also play first and third base also, and has been up to 87 mph working with (pitching coach) Cory Lambert.”

Brewster credited Arkansas hitting coach Nate Thompson with landing Mathis.

“He’s so talented,” Brewsters said. “Nate did a great job of keeping him from Ole Miss and Arizona State.

Ward and 2026 Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove shortstop Spencer Browning encouraged Mathis to pledge to the Razorbacks.

“That helped a lot,” Mathis said. “I love my teammates a lot. Knowing Lawson and Spencer, they are great dudes. They encouraged me to cone over to Arkansas as well.”

Ward has been a mentor to Mathis.

“I have learned a lot from Lawson,” Mathis said. “He is really good at receiving. Catching and throwing is a huge part of my game and being able to keep the ball in front of me and my framework and stuff like that.”

“I continue to get stronger as I grow and I continue to get in the weight room,” Mathis said. 

Valley View, which also features 2024 Ole Miss commit Slade Caldwell, finished 29-7 last season and lost to Harrison 10-9 in the Class 4A state title game while trying back-to-back championships. 

The Blazers,  now competing in Class 5A, will open their  2023 season  with a Feb. 28 game against Bryant in Benton, ironically on the same field the 2022 season ended.

“We are a good program and it continues to get better,” Mathis said. “Our coaching staff is amazing and our goal is to win state this year and see how far we can far we can go.”