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Mayflower/Vilonia Tornado Benefit Baseball Game Memorable for All

Joe Albritton  met University of Arkansas coaches Bret Bielema and Mike Anderson, conducted a national television interview and gazed into the stands and saw more than 8,000 fans fill a stadium to watch his team and more importantly support two battered towns.
As the pregame pomp and circumstance finally wound down, and the first pitch was near, the quirky, Duck Dynasty-bearded look alike was overcome with emotion. The fiery Mayflower coach barely held back tears as he began to pace in front of the dugout just before he took his place in the third base coach’s box.
It was a sentiment shared by many who attended the game at Dickey-Stephens Park who saw Albritton’s Eagles take on the neighboring Vilonia Eagles in a non-conference game.
The thousands came to support, both morally and financially, the tornado ravaged towns and their teams, who are both enjoying successful seasons. With the large crowd, and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and other dignitaries in attendance, the game had a state championship feel. But many in attendance could have cared less about the outcome. They were there to lend a hand.
Still, baseball was the backdrop, and like it has so many times in history … Read more >

Bielema Voices Support for Mayflower/Vilonia Benefit Baseball Game

University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has pledged his support for the Mayflower/Vilonia varsity benefit baseball game being played Tuesday afternoon at Dickey-Stephens Park with proceeds benefiting tornado victims from the two communities.
The second-year coach said via Twitter Saturday that he and wife, Jen, plan to attend the game. Former Hog center Travis Swanson and Razorbacks men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson also plan to attend and sign autographs.
“2 sponsors have pledged $1/person in attendance up to $10,000. Join me and let’s have 10,000 come out to support towns that need our help,” Bielema posted. He added, “I’m encouraged by response so far. Help support Mayflower & Vilonia at Dickey-Stephens Park Tuesday. We all make a difference #WoooPig.”
The game game begins at 5:30 p.m. with gates opening at 4:30 p.m. Parking and admission is free, but the schools’ cheerleaders are taking donations and all of the concession stand profits will be split between the towns.
The game is being broadcast by different central Arkansas media personalities on three Crain Media radio stations — 93.3 The Source in Little Rock, Y107 in Conway and News/Talk 99.1 in Searcy. KATV sports director Steve Sullivan, Ouachita Baptist football  play-by-play man … Read more >

Mayflower, Vilonia Baseball Teams to Meet at Dickey-Stephens Park for Benefit

The Mayflower and Vilonia High School baseball teams will play a fundraising game at Dickey-Stephens Park on Tuesday, May 6 the Arkansas Travelers announced Thursday afternoon.
Both towns were ravaged by recent tornadoes and funds raised from the game benefit both towns. Admission to the game is free, but donations will be collected by both team’s cheerleading squads and all proceeds from concession stand sales will go to those affected. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch slated for 5:30.
Mayors from both towns will be in attendance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and lead a moment of silence for those killed in the disaster.… Read more >

Star City will grieve loss of fallen prep football player together

One of the things I love most about Arkansas is its small towns. You know the ones. A couple of stoplights, a gas station, tasty freeze and a country cookin’ diner. The high schoool football stadium is packed on Friday night and so are all of the churches on Sunday.
One of my favorites is Star City. Located between Pine Bluff and Monticello, it is a quaint, little Southeast Arkansas town.
I became very acquainted with it and the high school football program the five years I worked at the Pine Bluff Commercial. I covered at least two or three games there every year. The parking attendant recognized my car and sent me through a side gate to a spot right near the press box every time. The press box crew was nice and friendly, and called me by name after my first couple of visits.
I usually stopped and grabbed a bite to eat before the game or got gas on the way out of town. I always felt a friendly vibe. It reminded me a lot of my home area in Iowa. Many agricultural, down home folks. I even joked to my wife, Sheena, I would like … Read more >

Farmington player’s kind gesture makes night memorable for rival

Plenty of bitterness and hard feelings have come out of the Farmington/Prairie Grove rivalry dubbed — the Battle of Highway 62. The towns, which are located just seven miles a part outside of Fayetteville, engage in a fierce battle, whatever the sport.
However, Jeremy Mueller extended an olive branch. Instead of celebrating Farmington’s sure road win against its bitter rival in the final seconds, he made Tigers senior McKay Gregson’s dream come true.
With Prairie Grove trailing 64-55

Courtesy photo Ty Gregson hugs his younger brother McKay after he hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer in his first game as a varsity player.

Courtesy photo
Ty Gregson hugs his younger brother McKay after he hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer in his first game as a varsity player.

with just 10 seconds left in the game, Gregson, who has special needs and is the team’s manager, checked into the game. Since it was senior night, Gregson, who has served as manager since seventh grade, suited up for the first time.
Prairie Grove brought the ball up the floor and Gregson launched a three-pointer. It missed, and the game appeared to be over. However, Mueller grabbed the rebound and kicked the ball back out to Gregson, who drilled a long triple at the buzzer, making the score 64-58.
Even in the rivalry defeat, the home crowd cheered wildly … Read more >