PEA RIDGE (KFSM)--Tuesday, March 14 is a memorable day for Pea Ridge baseball coach John King. What appears on paper as a 6-1 win at Gentry is actually a lot more significant. It marks King's 500th coaching win, all with Pea Ridge over thirty seasons.
"The 500th win, I say that's more of a program type of accomplishment than an individual," said King, who is up to 511 wins.
"It's a great thing to be a part of, it's one of the biggest things around here," senior Westin Church said.
"It felt pretty special, it was nice. Especially celebrating it with him," King's son Garrett, a right fielder for Pea Ridge said.
With the milestone victory in the past, the Blackhawks set their eyes on the postseason. If recent history is any indicator, there could be a deep run. Both the school's football and basketball team finished runner up, losing in the 4A title game.
Church said, "We got high expectations to get to the state championship game just like basketball and football."
"I think anytime you see that the other guys have done, you feel like you can do the same thing," coach King said.
Pea Ridge has plenty of players who've experienced that championship atmosphere, like Church and Hayden Holtgrewe. But it's the senior class that sets the Blackhawks apart.
"The seniors have been very good to success this year. We've done really well trying to make the younger kids into great players so they can lead the team whenever they become seniors," Garrett King said.
"Our seniors, I really can't pinpoint one or two of them. But even some of them that's been injured have stepped up and taken a leadership role," coach King said.
"I think it's been the most important thing all year. Without the seniors we wouldn't have any leadership or been able to win most of the games we have won," said Church.
Pea Ridge received the third seed in the 4A-1 district tournament and faces sixth seeded Gentry next Thursday at Gravette High School. The winner advances to the 4A regional tournament.