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Arkansas' best high school baseball players: Meet the state's top catchers

Some of the top catchers in Arkansas prep baseball

With high school baseball season in full swing, SBLive is looking at the best players in Arkansas. Today, we feature the top catchers across all classifications. 

A true field general is one of the most important pieces of championship teams. 

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list as there are hundreds of great catchers statewide. Players who play multiple positions might be featured on other lists throughout the season. 

Lawson Ward | Valley View |SR 

The best catcher in the class of 2024 in my opinion. Ward has been a three-year starter for the Blazers. He hasn’t been behind the plate yet this year due to an injury but has gotten on the mound a couple of times. Ward signed with Arizona State to play his college ball.

Nolan Belcher | Walnut Ridge | SR

Belcher had a spectacular junior year that saw him drive in 41 runs for the Bobcats. He hit .489 with four home runs. And 17 total extra base hits. Belcher signed with Arkansas State in November.

Rowan Christensen | Bentonville | SR

Christensen has been a three-year starter for the Tigers, leading them to the state title game the last two seasons. He is one of the best defensive catchers in the state and can shut down an offensive running game. Rowan signed to play college ball with Fort Scott CC next spring.

Peyton Coffman | Russellville | SR

Coffman started his senior season with a bang going 8 for 12 with two home runs and two doubles through five games. He will see time on the mound and multiple positions or the Cyclones this season. Coffman signed to play with Missouri State-West Plains.

Brock Billingsley | Shiloh Christian | SR

Billingsley had his junior season end abruptly with an injury, but he is back better than ever in 2024. He launched a three-run home run last weekend, his first of the season. Brock is also one of the top academic players in the state evident by his 34 on the ACT. Billingsley signed with MIT in the fall.

Paxton Flagg | Greenbrier | SR

Flagg has earned all-state honors the past two seasons playing multiple positions but will be behind the plate for most innings this season. Flagg is 9 for 15 at the plate to start the season with seven runs batted in. He has at least two hits in every game. Flagg signed with Crowder (Mo.) Junior College in the fall.

Carter Alexander | Bigelow | SR

Alexander is another three-year starter on the list and a three-sport star for the Panthers. Alexander led the Panthers in tackles during their championship football season. The only major sport he has not won a state championship is baseball and that could change in May. Carter will play collegiately for UCA.

Kaleb Ceola | Springdale Har-Ber | SR

You don’t see many catchers hitting leadoff, but that is exactly where Ceola hit in a recent 4-2 win over Tulsa Bishop Kelley. Ceola also hit cleanup and sixth for the Wildcats. He had a big championship game at the plate last spring helping the Wildcats capture their second title in school history.

Mason Lindsey | Taylor | SR

Lindsey has been a centerpiece for Taylor’s last two championship teams. He always does the little things according to coach Brian Fowler. Lindsey is a true quarterback on the field and will take on more of the offensive load this season, hitting at the top of the Tigers lineup.

Jayden Wilmoth | Woodlawn | SR

Another backstop looking for a third straight state championship. Wilmoth has always had a knack as a dirtbag on the diamond so catching was a natural position for him. He has power potential in the bat and is a plus defender behind the plate.

Jack Stockton | Greenland | JR

Stockton earned SBLive All-Underclass honors last season leading the Pirates to the semifinals in class 2A. He hit .464 with 11 doubles and 41 runs batted in while fielding .992 behind the plate. He also threw out 13 runners during the season.

Landon Holzhauer | Fayetteville | JR

The first time I saw Holzhauer in a game he threw out a couple of runners and hit a towering three-run home run against Van Buren. He was only a sophomore but played like a veteran. Landon has been a constant in the middle of Fayetteville’s lineup since the beginning of last season and is considered a top defensive catcher as well in the tough 6A west.

Chad Stewart Jr. | Gosnell | JR

Switch-hitting catchers are not as rare as they were 20 years ago, but it is still rare to see one that can perform at a high level. Stewart has already committed to Eastern Oklahoma State to play college ball, but he wants to help lead the Pirates to a state championship before leaving school. Stewart has power from the left side and a strong arm behind the plate.

Grayson Johnston | Maumelle | JR

Johnston caught sparingly last season, but his future is behind the plate for sure. Maumelle has one of the best pitching staff in the nation, boasting three future SEC players and Johnston makes them look even better.

Isaac Baker | Harding Academy | JR

Baker knows how to win. He was a part of Harding Academy’s state championship football team and won a baseball title last season with the Wildcats. He hit .500 with 10 doubles and 35 runs batted in while collecting 17 stolen bases.

Cade Palmer | Russellville | JR

Palmer splits time with Coffman behind the plate for the Cyclones and is committed to play college baseball for the Little Rock Trojans. Palmer does a great job blocking and handles borderline pitches like a pro.

Kannon Ring | Greene County Tech | SO

The Eagles have had a long history of pretty good backstops dating back to Andy Runyan in 2000. Ring is the latest in a long line that could play at a Power 5 school. In his first start of the season, Ring was 3 for 3 with a grand slam and seven runs batted in.

Max Holland | Conway | SO

Holland is a big-time athlete that can play middle infield in addition to being a catcher for the Wampus Cats. He belted a towering two-run home run against Greenbrier last week that was part of a four run first inning for Conway. I expect Holland’s recruitment to pick up this fall when the 2026 class can be contacted by college coaches.

Ryder Ingle | Lonoke | FR

Ingle is the only freshman on the list due to what he has already done with an all-star pitching staff. Ingle has a good body and is very quiet behind the plate. He handles velocity with ease and has provided good quality at bats from the leadoff spot for the Jackrabbits. 

--Kevin Bohannon | @SBLiveArk