Four Tigers Make All-Conference
PRAIRIE GROVE — Four Prairie Grove players made All-Conference from the 2018 Tiger baseball season: shortstop Drew Cates, catcher Couper Allen; pitcher/outfielder DJ Pearson, and infielder Kyle Fidler.
Prairie Grove compiled a 14-18 record, two wins shy of what coach Chris Mileham was aiming for the Tigers to become a .500 ball-club by season’s end. They placed second at the district tournament and fourth at Regionals before suffering a narrow loss in their first state tournament appearance with Mileham at the helm.
Cates was named All-State for his junior season, appearing in 30 games batting .333 with 32 hits in 96 at-bats and 110 plate appearances, 16 runs scored, 23 RBIs, 6 doubles and 1 triple. Cates was also recognized as All-Conference by the 4A-1. Cates took 11 bases-on-balls against 12 strike-outs, reaching on an error 7 times managing an on-base percentage of .400 and a .416 slugging percentage. Cates had 5 stolen bases.
Despite a team-high 18 errors, Cates sported a .849 fielding average and turned 6 double plays, one-fourth of the Tiger total of 23. Cates made 8 appearances as a pitcher and recorded 2 saves. Cates allowed 7 runs on 8 hits in 7.2 innings on the mound.
Allen played in 31 games as a junior, hitting .319 with 30 hits in 94 at-bats among 112 plate appearances. He was frequently replaced by a courtesy runner and scored 8 runs with 19 RBIs, and 10 doubles. Allen reached baseon-balls 13 times, struck out 26 times, twice was hit by pitches, reached on an error 5 times with a .409 on-base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage. Allen stole bases twice. Allen was steady as the Tigers’ backstop finishing with a .985 fielding percentage and 3 errors.
In his senior season Pearson provided leadership. Playing in 31 games he produced 22 hits in 91 at-bats from 105 plate appearances for a .242 average with 12 runs scored, 11 RBIs and 2 doubles. Pearson was awarded 13 bases-on-balls and struck out 25 times. He was left on-base 57 times, second to Chase Wade (62) and stole 2 bases. Pearson’s fielding percentage was .933 with 4 errors.
Pearson started 8 games on the mound, accumulating a 2.12 earned-run average and a 5-2 record. Pearson pitched the second-most innings of any Tiger with 43. Garrett Heltemes led the team with 43.2. Pearson allowed 30 runs on 39 hits with only 13 of those runs earned. His strike-out (47) to base-on-balls (26) ratio was nearly 2-1. Pearson faced 207 batters with 174 at-bats. Wild pitches weren’t his thing as he wound up with only 3 such deliveries and 7 batters hit by pitches. Pearson threw the most pitches of any Tiger with 756.
Fidler came on as a sophomore moving into the starting lineup. Fidler appeared in 30 games, batting .265 with 22 hits in 83 at-bats with 108 plate appearances, 17 runs scored, 20 RBIs, and 2 doubles. Fidler got aboard 11 times with a free pass, had 17 strike-outs, led the team in being hit by a pitch 14 times, 6 times reached on an error and had a .435 on-base percentage with 2 stolen bases
Fidler matched 6 errors with 6 double plays and had a .965 fielding percentage. Fidler also made 6 appearances on the mound, allowing 12 runs on 14 hits in 13.1 innings of work. His strikeout to walk ratio was 2-1 with 14 strike-outs against 7 bases-on-balls.
The 2018 Prairie Grove baseball team coached by Chris Mileham (left) poses outside the high school before leaving for the State 4A baseball tournament in May. Four Tigers were selected to the 4A-1 All-Conference baseball team.