Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Harry Wright is new Jackrabbits football coach

New Lonoke Jackrabbits football coach Harry Wright visits with his new team following an initial meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

LONOKE — Harry Wright, the defensive coordinator at Bentonville West High School, is the new Lonoke Jackrabbits head football coach.
Wright, 34, was hired by the Lonoke School Board during its regular meeting Monday night. He replaces Taggart Moore, who resigned to enter into private business.
Wright has been at Bentonville West for four seasons, following coach Bryan Pratt from McAlester, Okla., to Bentonville when Bentonville High School split into two schools. 
“My family and I are excited to be here,” Wright said. 
Wright is a graduate of Eufala High School in Oklahoma. He played four years of football at Bacone College, earning All-American Honors twice. 
Wright coached at several Oklahoma schools before making his way to Bentonville.
But Lonoke reminds him of Eufala, his hometown.
“This is opportunity came open, it reminds me a lot of where I went to high school,” Wright said. “I graduated from a 3A Oklahoma school. So it’s similar. 
“I have a 6-year-old son and I wanted him to grow up in the same environment that I grew up in. Football was a huge deal. The town shut down where I went to high school. I feel like Lonoke can be that type of situation and opportunity. It really enticed me for him to grow up in that type on environment, along with the tradition of success and athletes that they’ve had here.”
Wright said everyone he’s talked to about the Lonoke job said it was a good opportunity.
“This is a place where you can be successful at and the kids are going to work hard and take pride in it,” he said. 
Wright and his wife Lauren have one son, Evan. 
“It’s always been my dream when I got into coaching to be a head football coach,” Wright said. “I’ve kind of tried to set myself up throughout my career to learn from the best. I’ve worked for some really good head coaches. My head coach in high school, Kerry Roberts, was one of my mentors. I worked for him for three years.”
The Jackrabbits finished the 2018 season 6-6. They beat Prairie Grove in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. They lost to Ozark in the second round.
Lonoke opens the 2019 season Aug. 30 at Carlisle. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Bison rally to beat Pangburn, qualify for state tourney

The Carlisle Bison are headed to the Class 2A state tournament after beating Pangburn 6-3 on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Sara Seidenschwarz)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

CARLISLE — For the first time in five years and the eighth time in school history, the Carlisle Bison baseball team is headed to the state tournament.
Carlisle (17-9) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Pangburn 6-3 in the first round of the central regional tournament at Rockefeller Park on Friday. With the win, Carlisle will play in the Class 2A state tournament next week in Mountain Home. 
“We haven’t really talked a whole lot about wins this season but we knew one of the goals was to make it to the state tournament,” said first-year Bison coach coach Steven Tew. “It feels good to accomplish that and we hope to keep it going from there.”
Pangburn, which beat the Bison 13-3 on April 17, scored two runs in the bottom of the second and the score remained the same until the top of the fifth.
Carlisle’s Cody Brown and Ben Orton both scored runs to tie the game at 2-2.
The Bison then plated four runs in the top of the sixth to take a 6-2 lead. Scoring were Noah Seidenschwarz, Brown, Orton and Blake White. 
Pangburn added a run in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-3. The Tigers had a change to score in the bottom of the seventh but left runners at first and second to end the game. 
White got the win, giving up three runs in six innings. He struck out seven while allowing nine hits and five walks. Brown pitched a scoreless seventh. 
“Blake really didn’t have his best stuff early on but he batted up there,” Tew said. “They got something going in the second but he did a good job limiting the damage and giving up only two runs that inning. 
“Around the fourth, something clicked for him and he started to command his pitches a little better. After that moment, we were able to start spotting fastballs and throwing curveballs and change ups for strikes. It helped keep Pangburn’s hitters off balance.”
The Bison had seven hits but also left 12 runners on base. Brown, Orton and Ian Seidenschwarz had two hits each. 
“Offensively, we felt like we had opportunities but couldn’t get a big hit to score any of them,” Tew said. “We just kept grinding and kept having good at bats until we got two across in the fifth and four more in the sixth. 
“I was proud of how they handled themselves during those tough innings. A good example of it was really Braiden Jenkins. He had a good at bat with two outs and runners on second and third. It ended in a strikeout but it also did two important things for us. It rolled the lineup over to the top for the next inning and it helped run the pitch count up for Pangburn’s guy, which led to them having to go to the bullpen. Braiden was a little down on himself after that one but he didn’t carry it over to the field.”
Jenkins dove for a fly ball in the gap on the first pitch of the next inning for an out.
“He made of the best plays we’ve had all year by diving to the gap,” Tew said of Jenkins. “It was a big moment and got us fired up.”
The Bison will play Conway St. Joseph on Sunday in the semifinals of the regional at Rockefeller Park. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

LHS football coach Moore leaving education field

Lonoke football coach Taggart Moore talks to his offensive line during the 2017 season. Moore is stepping down as Jackrabbits football coach, going into loan selling business. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

LONOKE — Taggart Moore had a career opportunity he could not pass up.
Moore, 32, the head football coach of the Lonoke Jackrabbits for 2 1/2 years, is stepping down to make a career move, getting out of education.
Moore is going to work as a loan officer at First Trust Home Loans, based in Sheridan but with a satellite office in Cabot. 
“It is something I don’t take lightly,” Moore said, referring to being the head coach of the Jackrabbits. “I didn’t think I’d ever get out of coaching and teaching. I thought I’d be doing this for the next 25 years. I love football and I love the game and I love coaching. 
“But this is an opportunity to do something different, an opportunity for me to do things for my family that I can’t do while I’m coaching. It just came down to that. It’s an opportunity for my family that I couldn’t pass up. I can now spend more time with my family.”
Moore said he will continue to teach and fulfill his contract, which expires June 30. 
Moore said his wife Anna will continue to teach at Lonoke High School. They have a young son, Mills. 
Moore was named interim coach of the Jackrabbits following the resignation of longtime coach Doug Bost following a  1-3 start in 2016. The Jackrabbits finished the season 2-4 under Moore. In the 2017, Lonoke went 3-7 but took a major step forward in 2018 as the Jacrkabbits went 6-6, including a home playoff victory over Prairie Grove. 
“I think differently it’s in a good spot,” Moore said of the Jackrabbits football program. “Talking to Dr. Tackett [Lonoke Superintendent John Tackett], we kind of discussed it and how it’s in a much better place than what I found it in. There are so many positive things doing on there right now.”
Tackett spoke highly of Moore.
"In the short time I've known him, he seems to be an educator of the highest character who puts students first," Tackett said. "He treats fellow coaches and colleagues with respect and is a great role model for students. From what I have seen, he models the skills, values and character traits most sought after in coaching and teaching.
"He will be greatly missed. We wish Coach Moore the very best and appreciate all he has done."
Tackett said the football coaching position will be posted on the school website and will including a physical education teaching assignment.
"Applications will be reviewed and candidates will be selected by a district-level team comprised of administrators and coaches," Tackett said.
Moore said he's leaving a great job.
“Whoever takes that job is going to be in a really good position to win a conference championship next year,” Moore said. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work, and I want the program to success. I feel like it’s going to.”

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Jackrabbits win 5 in a row

Lonoke's Anderson Fletcher awaits a pitch during the Jackrabbits' sweep of EStem on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

LONOKE — After a getting off to a slow start, the Lonoke Jackrabbits have won five in a row, including four conference games, to improve to 6-7 on the season. 
Lonoke is now 5-3 in the 4A-5 conference. The Jackrabbits are tied for third with Mills but hold the tiebreaker over the Comets by virtue of their sweep. Joe T. Robinson is 6-0. Wynne is second at 5-1. 
“We’re sitting at 5-3 in the conference, which is a good spot for us right now,” Lonoke coach Nick Smith said. “We have a huge doubleheader at Wynne on Tuesday. That could really put us in a great position going forward.”
Before spring break, Lonoke beat Mills 9-1 and 11-4 on March 15. 
In the first game, Lonooke led 8-0 after four innings. 
Dalton Smith led Lonoke with four runs. Spencer Pepper had two. Also scoring were Julian Medina, Christian Cooper, and Anderson Fletcher. 
Noah Mulligan had three RBIs. Cooper, Smith, and Pepper had two hits each. 
Will Roark got the win. He struck out four in six innings of work. 
In the second game, Lonoke jumped out to a 8-0 lead after two innings. 
Cooper, Smith and Pepper each scored two runs. Also scoring were Logan Sharp, Ryan Cleveland, Grant Lingo, Mulligan and Riley Miller. 
Lonoke swept a doubleheader from EStem on Tuesday. The Jackrabbits won the first game 25-0 and the nightcap 12-0. 
Media, Smith and Roark each scored three runs. Scoring two runs were Cleveland, Miller and Pepper. Also scoring were Cooper, Will McNeil, Sharp, Fletcher, Mulligan and Daniel DeViney.
Mulligan hit a home run. 
In the second game, Lonoke scored five runs in the second and seven in the fourth. 
McNeil and Chase Rogers each scored two runs. Also scoring were Isaiah Thomas, Cooper, Smith, Roark, Sharp, Fletcher, Brayden Knox and DeViney.
Smith, Shapr and Mulligan competed on a no-hitter, striking out 11 EStem batters.
“Our pitching is really starting to settle in and pound the strike zone,” Coach Smith said. “At the plate, our guys are really seeing the ball well and squaring a lot of balls up. I’ve been please with the depth of this team. We’ve got a lot of good ball players on this team so we have a lot of options on doubleheaders on conference nights.
“Lastly, this team is starting to put all phases of the game together and it’s showing.”

Bison hold off Hornets, improve to 8-3

The Carlisle Bison rally up before an inning during their win over Hazen on Friday. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

Ian Seidenschwarz makes contact with a pitch
against Hazen. 
CARLISLE — The Carlisle Bison continued their early-season roll with a 9-5 win over the Hazen Hornets on Friday at Rockefeller Park.
The Bison aren now 8-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
Carlisle led 5-0 after three innings. Hazen scored twice in the top of the fourth to cut it to 5-2. The Bison plated a run in the bottom of the frame to lead 6-2. However, the Hornets would not go away, scoring once in the fifth and twice in the sixth to make the score 6-5.
The Bison scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth push the lead back to four at 9-5. 
“I wasn’t surprised at jumping out to a big lead,” first-year Carlisle coach Steven Tew said. “Yesterday at practice, it was probably the best we’ve swung the bat all year. That was really encouraging coming off the last two games where I thought we didn’t swing the bat that well. 
“We knew we were facing one of the top guys in our conference in Jacob Weems. He’s had great numbers. Everything that I heard is that he’s a two strikeout an inning pitcher. It was going to be hard for us.”
Ben Orton, Blake White and Kamryn Taylor each scored two runs. Also scoring were Coby Brown, Gauge Shaw and Jasean Harper.
Brown and White led Carlisle with three hits each. Orton and Eli Moody had two hits each. 
Also getting a  hit was Creed Carter. 
Paxton Hitchings pitched the first three innings. He allowed no hits but two runs while striking out give. White got a save, pitching the final 1 2/3 innings, He struck out three. Also pitching were Noah Seidenschwarz and Brown. 
“Paxton gave us three solid innings and I kinda pushed him for a fourth,” Tew said. “He got into a little bit of trouble. Noah came in and pitched really well. Coby struggled some. He didn’t have his best stuff but he got out there and competed. 
“Then we just got to Blake. We knew that if we had the lead and we were getting late in the game that we were going straight to Blake. He was able to come in and get five big outs for us.”
A year ago, the Bison were 12-11 but had turmoil because of a midseason coaching change, going from Phil Bernhardt to Ryan Johnson, son of former Arkansas Razorbacks pitching coach Wes Johnson. 
Carlisle made it to the regional under Johnson and was close to advancing to the state tournament. 
Tew is pleased with the progress his team is making in his first season as the head Bison. 
“Next week, we’re playing five out of the first six days,” he said. “We’ll get to see a lot of baseball and get a lot of at bats. We’re definitely happy with where we’re at right now. We just have to keep it going and finish.”
Carlisle also bet Abundant Life 12-10 last week. 
White and Carter each scored three runs. Orton scored twice. Also scoring runs were Ian Seidenschwarz, Hitchings, Taylor and Harper. 
The Bison beat Bigelow 6-3 in a conference game Monday. 
Bigelow led 2-0 after one inning. The Bison plated three runs in the both the third and fourth innings to lead 6-2. The Panthers scored once in the top of the seventh. 
Brown and Moody each scored one run. Also scoring were Carter and Taylor. 
White got the win, pitching six innings. He struck out 13. 

Lady Bison edge Hazen, improve to 6-1 on the season

Carlisle third baseman Raegan Mills catches a fly ball in front of shortstop Mackenzie Raper during the seventh inning of the Lady Bison's 3-1 win over Hazen on Friday (Photos by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer
Carlisle pitcher Bailey Crump picked up a save
against Hazen. 

CARLISLE — The Carlisle Lady Bison used pitching performances from sophomores Shelby Hancock and Bailey Crump to hold off Hazen for a 3-1 win Friday at Bobby Glover Field at Rockefeller Park.
With the win, Carlisle improves to 2-0 in conference play and 6-1 on the season. 
Hancock struck out seven in five innings to get the win. She allowed two hits while walking only one. Crump struck out three in two innings. She allowed two hits and one run, which was unearned, to get the save. 
“I thought we were pretty solid on defense and the pitchers did a good job of hitting their spots,” Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said. “We did just enough at the plate, but we have to continue to get better at all facets of the game.”
The game was scoreless until the third inning when the Lady Bison plated three runs. 
Heather Bowlan and Gracie Brown both scored on a single by Crump with two outs, who eventually scored on a single by Caty Parker.
Carlisle had seven hits in the game. Bowlan and Brown had two each.
“It is always good to get a big win over a rival, especially when it’s a conference game,” Buffalo said. “It was a complete team effort, and that’s how it has to be.
Carlisle also beat Abundant Life.
The Lady Bison beat the Lady Owls 15-0. 
Ansley Terry and Crump each scored three runs. Scoring twice were Parker, Hancock and Brown. Also scoring were Hailey Thrift, Josie Fortner and Bowlan. 
Hancock and Crump each hit home runs, with Crump’s coming as an inside-the-park homer.
Crump got the win, allowing only one hit through four innings of work. She struck out eight. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Lady Bison open conference play with rout of Bigelow

Carlisle's Ansley Terry follows through on her swing during the fourth inning of the Lady Bison's win over Bigelow on Monday at Bobby Glover Field. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

CARLISLE — The Number 4 was key for the Carlisle Lady Bison in their 12-2 win over Bigelow in the 2A-5 North opener at Bobby Glover Field.
Carlisle scored four runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings en route to their fourth win of the season. The Lady Bison are now 4-1 on the year. 
“It was a great way to start off the conference season, especially coming off spring break,” Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said. “We put the ball in play against a good pitcher. They have a good team, and we played very well.”
The Lady Bison based out 12 hits in the victory and took advantage of three Bigelow errors. 
In the first inning, Bailey Crump singled with one out. Mackenzie Raper followed with a single then Caty Parker walked. Raegan Mills reached on an error, which allowed Crump, Raper and Parker to score. 
Mills scored on a single by Shelby Hancock. 
Scoring for the Lady Bison in the fourth were Heather Bowlan, Gracie Brown, Ansley Terry and Crump. 
The Lady Bison ended the game in the fifth inning, scoring four in the bottom of the fifth. Brown tripled with one out and scored scored on a single by Terry. Crump followed with a double, driving in Terry. Crump scored on a single by Raper. Parker then hit a ground rule double to center field. Raper scored on a the play after she went to second on a passed ball. 
Crump led Carlisle with three hits. Getting two hits each were Terry, Raper and Brown. Parker, Hancock and Bowlan had one hit each. 
Hancock got the win. She gave up two runs in five innings of work. She struck out nine.