Beeks Re­turns To Present Ma­jor League Jersey

NA­TIVE SON RE­TURNS TO PRESENT MA­JOR LEAGUE JERSEY

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Humphrey

PRAIRIE GROVE — Christ­mas songs cel­e­brate the birth of a child des­tined to change the world and one of Prairie Grove’s own re­turned to cel­e­brate his her­itage Fri­day.

Christ­mas cel­e­brates di­vine im­par­ta­tion of a gift to mankind and in the spirit of giv­ing, Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 grad­u­ate of Prairie Grove High School and for­mer Arkansas Ra­zor­back, worked out an agree­ment with Prairie Grove head base­ball coach Chris Mile­ham to give away his au­to­graphed and framed No. 68 Ma­jor League Base­ball jersey as the grand prize for a raf­fle rais­ing funds for Tiger base­ball.

As promised months ago, Beeks at­tended the Prairie Grove versus West Fork bas­ket­ball games Dec. 7. At half­time of the boys’ game, Beeks drew the win­ning ticket and pre­sented the framed prize to Mar­cresa Hat­ten­hauer, a band mom, who pur­chased the win­ning ticket.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan months ago while Beeks was part of the Bos­ton Red Sox or­ga­ni­za­tion, which drafted him in 2014. Early in the sum­mer Beeks was ac­ti­vated to the Ma­jor League ros­ter, twice ap­pear­ing in two games for the Red Sox. Sud­denly he was traded to Tampa Bay. Mile­ham ap­pre­ci­ates how Beeks main­tained the di­a­logue in the midst of be­ing ac­quired by a new fran­chise and re­lo­cat­ing his fam­ily.

Mile­ham is aware that en­tailed far more than merely chang­ing uni­forms.

“They switch his team so there’s a lot go­ing on with tran­si­tion and his fam­ily this and that,” Mile­ham said. “I text Jalen Beeks any day, time, it would be within an hour he would re­spond. He has a tremen­dous love for this town, this com­mu­nity, that as a guy that wants to stay out of the spot­light I would also say he’s a guy that would do any­thing for this town and this com­mu­nity.”

Hat­ten­hauer’s son, An­thony, a 2012 Prairie Grove grad­u­ate, was a team­mate when Beeks led the 2011 Tigers into the State 4A-1 Base­ball cham­pi­onship game against Shiloh Chris­tian. She holds fond me­mories of Beeks’ ex­ploits at Prairie Grove.

“He was al­ways just a re­ally, good player, but not only that just a re­ally, good per­son and just cared about ev­ery­body,” Hat­ten­hauer. “The older boys on the team just kind of took my son un­der their wing, which made it a lot eas­ier on him, and Jalen was one of those boys.”

Like many Tiger fans Hat­ten­hauer fol­lowed Beeks’ ca­reer path from one sea­son at Crow­der Col­lege in Neosho, Mo.,

to Arkansas to be­ing drafted in the 12th round by Bos­ton in 2014 and pitch­ing for the Red Sox mi­nor league af­fil­i­ates to the trade with Tampa Bay on July 24, 2018. He com­piled a 5-1 record pitch­ing as a Ma­jor Lea­guer for 2018.

“I’m so proud of him, know­ing him ba­si­cally his whole life. It couldn’t hap­pen to a bet­ter per­son,” Hat­ten­hauer said.

The unique­ness of hold­ing the raf­fle draw­ing and pre­sen­ta­tion by Beeks was not lost on Mile­ham.

“I’m sure there wasn’t a per­son in the build­ing, home or away that didn’t en­joy that,” Mile­ham said of Beeks’ par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“In my 17 years of coach­ing I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been blessed to be in the pres­ence of a big-lea­guer, let alone some­one, who comes right out of our back­yards. I take a lot of pride and honor to honor his legacy that the play­ers and coaches ac­com­plished well be­fore I got here.”

Hat­ten­hauer re­mains a ded­i­cated vol­un­teer work­ing the con­ces­sion stand as a “Band Mom,” al­though her youngest child grad­u­ated in 2017. She was sur­prised and a lit­tle bit shocked when her name was an­nounced as the win­ner.

“I was just telling ev­ery­one in the con­ces­sion stand that I never win any­thing,” Hat­ten­hauer said. “I’ve prob­a­bly do­nated thou­sands upon thou­sands of dol­lars to the school’s projects and then they call my name and I was just, ‘what, are you kid­ding me?’”

Hat­ten­hauer hadn’t yet de­cided what she in­tends to do with the au­to­graphed, framed jersey.

“I may hang it up for awhile, but I may do­nate it back to the school so they can hang it up,” Hat­ten­hauer said.

Hat­ten­hauer said she wants to wish a merry Christ­mas to her whole fam­ily, the Prairie Grove band, the band par­ents, among oth­ers.

“Just ev­ery­body in Prairie Grove, we have a great com­mu­nity and I love it.”

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 grad­u­ate of Prairie Grove High School and for­mer Arkansas Ra­zor­back, at­tended the Prairie Grove versus West Fork bas­ket­ball games Dec. 7. At half­time of the boys’ game, Beeks drew the win­ning ticket from a raf­fle of his Tampa Bay jersey No. 68 and pre­sented the framed prize to Mar­cresa Hat­ten­hauer, a band mom, who pur­chased the win­ning ticket. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the draw­ing were (from left): Tiger catcher Couper Allen, Beeks, Hat­ten­hauer, and Prairie Grove base­ball coach Chris Mile­ham.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove head base­ball coach Chris Mile­ham worked out an agree­ment with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 Prairie Grove grad­u­ate, to do­nate his Ma­jor League Base­ball jersey No. 68 as a raf­fle prize to raise funds for the Tiger base­ball team.

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