Sam Bates fulfilled a lifelong dream Wednesday, committing to play baseball for the University of Arkansas.
Bates, a Cabot native, has spent the last two years as an outfielder at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.
"It's where I've always wanted to go," Bates said. "It's my home state school and a great, great program with a lot of tradition. I want to help them out. They were always my top school throughout the recruiting process."
Bates (6-4, 215) projects to either an outfielder or first baseman for Arkansas next season. Like current Razorback first baseman Andy Wilkins, Bates bats left and throws right.
"I've played half and half this year," Bates said. "Coach (Todd) Butler sat down with me to see which one I was more comfortable with and I told him it doesn't matter. I feel good at each position."
Arkansas had conversations with Bates out of Cabot High School but never offered a scholarship. That changed this season, however, as Bates is hitting .425 with nine home runs, 17 doubles and 40 RBIs for a Riders team that is 28-17.
"I'm just grateful I got the opportunity," said Bates of the scholarship offer. "I knew right away I wanted to commit and come back to represent my state as opposed to going somewhere else."
Bates, who was also offered by UALR, New Mexico and UAB, has made two trips to watch Arkansas play this season, including the game with Kentucky on Easter Sunday in which the Razorbacks recorded a 17-16 win with a Collin Kuhn walk-off grand slam.
"That was great," Bates said. "It was an awesome finish. I also got to see the second game against New Mexico on a Wednesday night when there were 7,500 people in the ballpark. That's a pretty big crowd for any time. Baseball at Arkansas has great fans.
"They can really play this year. I think they're on the road to winning it all this year. I can't wait to a part of that."
Bates Commits to Arkansas
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