PREP BASEBALL: Har-Ber's Adams to play baseball at Arkansas

By: Chip Souza
Published: November 15, 2018 at 1 a.m. - Updated: November 15, 2018 at 1 a.m.
Har-Ber baseball standout Blake Adams (center) signs a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to play baseball for Arkansas while seated alongside his mother, Alicia, and father, Aaron, during a signing ceremony inside Wildcat Arena in Springdale.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Har-Ber baseball standout Blake Adams (center) signs a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to play baseball for Arkansas while seated alongside his mother, Alicia, and father, Aaron, during a signing ceremony inside Wildcat Arena in Springdale.

SPRINGDALE -- Blake Adams got his first college offer before he ever suited up for a high school baseball game.

Now, almost four years later, that first offer is the only one he really needed.

Adams, a right-handed pitcher at Springdale Har-Ber, signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Arkansas on Wednesday in front of a large gather of students, teachers, and coaches in Wildcat Arena.

"I've had season tickets to Arkansas games since I was four years old," Adams said. "I've been to a lot of baseball games with my grandparents. I have always loved the atmosphere at Razorbacks games and it's always been my dream school."

Adams said the facilities at Arkansas, the close proximity to his family, and the elite status of the Razorbacks program were all factors in his decision to choose Arkansas over a number of offers including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Mississippi State to name a few.

As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 180 pounder led Har-Ber to a 30-win season and the Class 7A state championship. Adams pitched a shutout in the championship game at Baum Stadium, defeating Conway 6-0 to earn Most Valuable Player honors in the title game.

Since last spring, Adams had a whirlwind summer that saw him make the 40-man roster for the 18U Team USA select team, and also compete in the prestigious Area Code Games in San Diego. He also saw his fastball click up a few ticks to 95 miles per hour.

"Those things really helped me develop, more mentally than anything else," Adams said. "I think they really helped me get ready for the next level. The competition was unreal, definitely a different atmosphere than high school ball. My first outing at Team USA, I faced the first top four hitters in the country. That was something I really needed."

Adams put three of the four batters away including two by strikeout. He plays to be a two-way player at Arkansas, and often his ability to swing the bat gets lost in his incredible pitching ability, Har-Ber coach Ron Bradley said.

"His bat is what got us a conference championship and into the state championship game," Bradley said. "He had a bases-clearing triple against Van Buren to help us win the conference championship, then his home run in the seventh inning in the semifinals against the same team was huge."

Adams led the Wildcats last season with a .411 batting average, 8 home runs, 42 RBIs 25 runs scored and 26 walks. On the mound, he was 7-2 with a 2.05 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 58 innings.

His relationship with Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson was the ultimate deciding factor, Adams said. He connected with Johnson when Adams was an eighth-grader and Johnson was coaching at Mississippi State.

"I just really connected with him and when he came to Arkansas and they offered me before the ninth grade and they offered my buddy Cason Tollett from Little Rock Christian and we wanted to go to the same school and we just decided Arkansas was the place for us," Adams said.

Bradley, who had three other players sign letters of intent on Wednesday, said it was apparent that Adams was a special player the first time he saw him before his ninth grade year.

"Being a four-year starter in a program like ours at the 7A level is rare," Bradley said. "But he will be a four-year starter. He's the only ninth grader we've had here who was a starter. I just tell him everyday 'Blake, you don't have to do more, just keep doing what you're doing.'

"He's got a bright future ahead of him, and we're excited to see what's going to happen."

Sports on 11/15/2018

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