Beeks’ Jer­sey Draw­ing Fri­day

MLB PITCHER WILL PER­SON­ALLY PRESENT JER­SEY

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS WEEK - By Mark Humphrey

PRAIRIE GROVE — Only days re­main to par­tic­i­pate in the Prairie Grove Dugout Club raf­fle draw­ing for a framed Jalen Beeks’ au­to­graphed Ma­jor League Base­ball Tampa Bay Rays jer­sey No. 68.

Beeks is a 2011 grad­u­ate of Prairie Grove High School, who ar­rived in Ma­jor League Base­ball tak­ing a path north for one sea­son at Crow­der Col­lege, in Neosho, Mo., be­fore be­com­ing an Arkansas Ra­zor­back. Beeks was drafted by the Bos­ton Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB June Am­a­teur Draft from the Univer­sity of Arkansas.

Beeks was traded from Bos­ton to Tampa Bay on July 25 for pitcher Nathan Eo­valdi. Beeks compiled a 5-1 record in the ma­jors last sea­son, pitch­ing 50.2 in­nings with a 5.51 earned run av­er­age.

“I think from top to bot­tom that pro­fes­sional pitch­ers, a lot of them have the same skillsets,” said Prairie Grove base­ball coach Chris Mile­ham, who coached in the mi­nor leagues. “From my ex­pe­ri­ence, the “It fac­tor” that sep­a­rates those prospects from just be­ing a tal­ented big league pitcher, it’s their makeup, their char­ac­ter, their men­tal tough­ness and their com­pet­i­tive spirit. It takes more than just be­ing good. There are a not of good base­ball pitch­ers who never make the big league. It’s all the other things be­sides throw­ing a base­ball 90 miles-an-hour.”

Raf­fle tick­ets are $5 each or six for $20. Tick­ets have been sold at Prairie Grove home foot­ball and bas­ket­ball games, and can still be pur­chased from Mile­ham, Tiger base­ball team members or by con­tact­ing Michelle Cates at 479-263-6443. Par­tic­i­pants don’t have to be present to win.

Ac­cord­ing to Mile­ham pro­ceeds from the raf­fle will be used to help the Tiger pro­gram pay for base­balls and other equip­ment. He said tick­ets will be sold until 6:45 p.m.

Fri­day.

The Jalen Beeks Tampa Bay Rays au­then­tic Ma­jor League base­ball jer­sey raf­fle will be held Fri­day, Dec. 7, 2018, at half­time of the girls boys bas­ket­ball game ver­sus West Fork. The boys game will im­me­di­ately fol­low the var­sity girls game against West Fork which is sched­uled for tip-off fol­low­ing a Hall of Pride in­duc­tion cer­e­mony at 6 p.m.

Ac­cord­ing to Mile­ham, ar­range­ments have been made for Beeks to per­son­ally draw the win­ning ticket and present the framed jer­sey.

“A lot of peo­ple would just like to lay eyes on him. Maybe they haven’t seen him since he grad­u­ated from high school or played for the Ra­zor­backs,” Mile­ham said.

“In all my years this is the first time rolling out a com­mu­nity ser­vice project of this na­ture. I didn’t know what to ex­pect, but it’s been aw­fully grat­i­fy­ing to watch our boys im­ple­ment the pro­gram.”

Chris Mile­ham Prairie Grove base­ball coach

“For him to per­son­ally show up, draw the win­ning ticket and present the prize is great. It gets peo­ple ex­cited about some things we’re do­ing.”

Fri­day marked the third week of the Prairie Grove Base­ball’s Read Ini­tia­tive with play­ers read­ing Christ­mas books to sec­ond-graders in the class­room.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, the feel­ing of watch­ing the boys read to the sec­ond-graders with them sit­ting on their laps. They have their un­di­vided at­ten­tion,” Mile­ham said. “In all my years this is the first time rolling out a com­mu­nity ser­vice project of this na­ture. I didn’t know what to ex­pect, but it’s been aw­fully grat­i­fy­ing to watch our boys im­ple­ment the pro­gram.”

FILE PHOTO

Jalen Beeks, shown han­dling the ball against Pea Ridge on Color’s Day, Jan. 28, 2011, of his se­nior high school sea­son, dis­played a tenac­ity at start­ing point-guard that many Tiger bas­ket­ball fans still talk about. Beeks pitched for the Univer­sity of Arkansas, was drafted in the 12th round of the 2014 ma­jor league base­ball draft by the Bos­ton Red Sox, and traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in July. Beeks compiled a 5-1 record as a Ma­jor League Base­ball pitcher in 2018. He re­turns to Prairie Grove Fri­day to present his framed, au­to­graphed Tampa Bay Rays’ No. 68 jer­sey to the win­ner of a raf­fle for Tiger base­ball dur­ing half­time of the girls bas­ket­ball game against West Fork fol­low­ing a Hall of Pride in­duc­tion cer­e­mony at 6 p.m.

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