Two more former Crowder players have signed with NCAA schools to continue their athletic and academic careers, outfielder Luke Price with Division I Oklahoma and infielder Cooper King with Division II Southern Arkansas.
Price and King join Aaron Ashby (Tennessee), Zach Jackson (Arkansas State), E.J. Scott (Louisiana-Monroe), Kobe Morris (Alabama), Jack Jumper (Arkansas State), Tyler Duncan (Arkansas State), and Bryce Bartlett (Arkansas) to bring the total to nine four-year college signees, although Ashby recently signed a professional contract with the Milwaukee Brewers and now plays for rookie ball Helena.
During his two seasons at Crowder, Price was a fixture patrolling the outfield on teams that produced 100 wins, one JUCO World Series appearance, one Region 16 title, and one Region 16 runner-up.
In his sophomore campaign, Price hit .268 (42 for 157) in 53 games with 44 runs scored, 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 47 RBI, 41 walks and 39 strikeouts, and 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts. Price played a solid defensive center field, with two assists and just one error producing a .989 fielding percentage.
In 68 games his freshman season, Price hit .339 (81-239) with 49 runs scored, 23 doubles, six triples, four homers, 62 RBI, 39 walks and 45 strikeouts, and 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Price led the 'Riders in doubles, beating out the trio of Elvis Peralta, Duncan, and Kyle MacDonald by two doubles each.
Oklahoma comes off a 38-25 overall and 14-10 Big 12 Conference season in which the Sooners reached the NCAA Regional hosted by Florida State. Oklahoma lost two games against Mississippi State.
The Sooners had five players overall selected in the recent MLB Draft, including outfielders Kyler Murray (Oakland) and Steele Walker (Chicago White Sox). Murray signed a $4.7 million contract with the Athletics, but he will quarterback the Sooners his senior season, taking advantage of the NCAA rule where a player can receive compensation in one sport while still retaining college eligibility in another.
Meanwhile, as a redshirt freshman, King came on strong in the middle and later portions of last season, establishing himself at second base after the departure of difference maker Peralta. Players like King and Price provided Crowder one of the deepest lineups in NJCAA Division I.
King hit .401 (55-137) with 36 runs scored, eight doubles, one triple, two homers, 40 RBI, 22 walks and 24 strikeouts, and five stolen bases in seven attempts.
The Muleriders of Southern Arkansas finished 41-19 overall and 22-11 in the Great American Conference last season, and hosted the NCAA-II Central Region Tournament. Southern Arkansas fell 5-3 to Augustana in the region championship.
Two Southern Arkansas pitchers were selected in the recent MLB Draft, Nick Starr in the 19th round to Cincinnati and Eric White in the 26th to Philadelphia.
King, like Price, is an Arkansas native and the former Harrison Goblin standout will now travel to Magnolia, nearly 5 hours and 270 miles south.