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White Oak dual-sport athlete to play baseball at Arkansas

By Jimmy Carter jcarter@news-journal.com
Jan. 25, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Hunter Owens has been a regular at Arkansas baseball camps since his freshman year of high school.

The White Oak senior two-sport standout decided Monday that he wants to spend the next few years in Fayetteville.

Owens committed after being offered a spot on the baseball roster as a preferred walk-on at the end of a Jan. 12 hitting and position camp, the eighth Arkansas camp he has attended in the last four years.

It didn't take long for the outfielder to accept the offer.

"It's always been my dream to go up there," Owens said. "It's a good place to continue my career. Everybody wants to win and that's a good place to go if you want to win."

Owens is committing to a program that has made two College World Series appearances in the last four years and is ranked No. 1 in USA Today's preseason poll.

He plays center field for White Oak and was 7-3 with a 2.88 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings as a pitcher last spring.

He hit .295 with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 14 RBIs as a junior after hitting .387 as a sophomore and .300 as a freshman.

His ability at the plate caught hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Todd Butler's eye at the latest camp.

"I was hitting the ball well," Owens said. "I had gained about 20 pounds since I had been up there before and coach Butler said that I looked really good. I was hitting in the batting cage and he walked up to me and said, 'Hunter I need you to stay after camp so I can talk to you.'

"So when the camp was over we had to wait for everybody to leave. Then we sat down in some chairs and he offered me right there. I knew what I wanted to do when he told me."

Prior to the camp, Owens also considered playing football in college after a standout career at White Oak that included being named Most Valuable Player for District 9-2A in December.

He rushed for 1,129 yards and 13 touchdowns, while catching 14 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. He also racked up 127 tackles on defense.

Owens considered walking on to the Arkansas football team until Butler offered him a spot on the baseball squad.

"I've always liked baseball the best and I'm better at baseball than I am at football," Owens said. "I knew I wanted to go to school at Arkansas no matter what."

(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: @jicartersports)



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