Photographs by Ben Goff
Greenwood pitcher Connor Noland throws to a Benton batter Saturday, May 19, 2018, during the Class 6A baseball state championship game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Connor Noland was at his best when the Greenwood Bulldogs needed him to be.
In his final eight starts, Noland didn't allow a run. The right-hander struck out 12 batters in his final three games, including 12 in Greenwood's Class 6A state championship game against Benton, a 4-0 victory for the Bulldogs.
"It's amazing," Greenwood Coach Trey Holloway said of Noland's season.
Noland finished 10-0 with a 0.42 ERA in 66 2/3 innings pitched and struck out 123 batters. At the plate, Noland hit .424 with 4 home runs, 37 RBI and 26 walks.
For his efforts, Noland is this year's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps baseball player of the year.
Noland struck out 123 batters. He had seven games with at least 10 strikeouts.
"He had double-digit strikeouts, but doesn't throw very many pitches. That's phenomenal," Holloway said. "You look at someone who strikes out that many guys, but it is efficient as well. That's what makes him special."
During his senior season, Noland, who has signed to play football and baseball at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, led the Bulldogs to state championships in baseball and football.
"It's been an amazing experience," Noland said. "It's been a blessing to be here. It's been a lot of fun."
Holloway said Noland has represented Greenwood well throughout his four years at the Sebastian County school.
"He embodies Greenwood," Holloway said. "What you see with Connor Noland is the type of kid and the type of program that we have. He's going to work extremely hard. He's going to put other people first. If I need something done, he's the first one there. That's what Connor Noland is. He's a servant at heart. He'll work his tail off and do the stuff no one else wants to do.
"It doesn't matter if he's going to play at the University of Arkansas, Major League Baseball or the NFL, that dude is going to be successful. He'll work his tail off like nobody else. He'll do the things that nobody else wants to do. He's going to serve other people. Those are the things that will make Connor Noland successful."
Noland got a preview of what his college baseball career could look like by pitching on the mound at Baum Stadium, the Razorbacks' baseball stadium. He said he's excited to be a Razorback on the diamond and on the football field.
"I always dreamed of playing in that uniform," Noland said. "Now that dream is a reality. I'm ready to take advantage of that option."
Sports on 06/10/2018
Connor Noland at a glance
NOTEWORTHY Son of Frank and Angie Noland. … Signed with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. … Went 10-0 with a 0.42 ERA in 66 2/3 innings pitched. … Led Greenwood to the Class 6A state championship. … Struck out 123 batters. … Hit .424 with 4 home runs and 37 RBI.
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