Two senior baseball players by the lake inked their names in letters of intent on Friday to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Peyton Ballard signed to play at Southern Arkansas University, and Andrew Cox signed to play at Ouachita Baptist University.
“I am very proud of them because of the four-year development they have had,” said first-year head coach Garrett Bock. “They have grown in our program, and being able to do this is very good for our program. What they have done has really maximized and made them more a leader of our team and our community … They ‘I “I’m not afraid to tell me how they feel, and it’s huge as a coach. You want to know exactly how they feel, what they feel, so you can navigate through it with someone you trust.”
“This has been a dream since day one,” Ballard said. “Just to play four more years after high school. That’s the dream. Coach Bock and coach (Korey) Thompson – they are fantastic. (Bock) just became head coach, so coach (Leighton) Hardin was not long ago. He was also great “It’s been fun all four years.”
Ballard plans to take a degree in nursing at Magnolia. His position on the field at SAU is still up in the air, but the future Mulerider expects time spent infield as he prepares for the next level.
“I’ve talked to them for a long time, and we decided to go up there for a visit, and all I saw – I loved it,” he explained. “It just clicked. I love the faculty there. I love the coaches. It fit perfectly. … Just going to train like crazy. Get stronger as much as I can before everything hits.”
Bock noted how much growth he has seen from Ballard in recent years.
“He was kind of thrown into the fire as a ninth grader,” he said. “He fought adversity, but now he has grown to be one of the best players who has been on this program. He works extremely hard and he really cares about his teammates. He is a fantastic teammate.”
Downtown Andrew Cox is joined by his mother Betsy, left, and father Robbie Friday after signing a letter of intent to play baseball at Ouachita Baptist University. – Photo by Richard Rasmussen from The Sentinel-Record
Cox said his time at Lakeside has not been fantastic, as former head coach Hardin and Bock have provided a lot of support.
“I’ve always wanted to play college baseball quite a bit since I was little,” Cox said. “Just being able to (has) been a dream. I really appreciate every moment I’ve had (at Lakeside). Coach Bock and coach Hardin, who recently moved on, they have all supported me and developed me as a player and “I feel that they are some of the biggest influences on my development as a player and given the opportunity to play college baseball.”
Cox named last year’s match against Bryant as his most memorable match of his time as a frame.
“It was the first game of the season and we had Ethan Bates pitching,” he recalled. “He threw a perfect game and we won 15-0. It was pretty amazing.”
Future Tiger has signed as an infielder / pitcher and has played outfield before and is unsure where he will go next year when he moves to Arkadelphia.
“From the moment I visited it, I talked to the coaches, and I loved the coaches from the start,” he said. “It was one of the first colleges I visited, so I did not want to make any decisions, but I got an offer there every time I visited. I looked at a couple of other schools, and none of them felt that they fit in like Ouachita did. . “
Bock noted the leadership they showed and how fulfilled it is to see the couple move on with their careers.
“These guys are rocks for our program,” Bock said. “They teach younger boys, and everyone looks up to these guys. It’s been a very good, very fun four years.”