From Little League to Little Rock to the Larks: Two New Arkansas Players Welcomed
(Click image above for video interview.)
BISMARCK, ND – The Bismarck Larks will welcome two University of Arkansas-Little Rock players for the 2018 Season: James “J.D.” Gann and Chase Coker.
“I’ve been playing baseball as long as I can remember, about 18 years,” Gann said. “I love how it’s a team game. It’s fun.” Coker has been playing baseball since the age of four.
Gann, a 6’4″ 220lbs. 3B/1B from Birmingham, AL, enters his first year at Arkansas-Little Rock as a Junior. Prior to his transfer, Gann played his last two seasons at Meridian Community College in Mississippi. While at Meridian, Gann posted a .279 batting average with 29 runs, 43 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, 47 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .331 and a slugging percentage of .591 in his Sophomore season. As a Freshman at Meridian, he hit .242 with 12 RBIs, eight runs and two stolen bases.
“Gann is a very talented young man who is going to bring a lot of power to our lineup this summer,” said Larks Head Coach, Sean Repay. “He hit 13 home runs last season at a very good junior college that plays in a tough region for junior college baseball. I expect Gann to be a mainstay for us at the corners or DH throughout the season. He is a great player with a good head on his shoulders and think he will thrive in the Bismarck atmosphere.”
Chase Coker, a 6’0″ 190lbs. middle infielder from Batesville, Mississippi, also enters his first year at Arkansas-Little Rock as a Junior. Like Gann, Coker played his last 2 seasons at Meridian Community College. Coker hit .329 with 50 hits, 37 runs, 34 RBIs, a team-high 12 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, 19 stolen bases, a .425 on-base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage in his sophomore campaign at Meridian. In 2016, Coker posted a .274 batting average with 17 hits, 11 runs, 10 RBIs, 4 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .400.
“Coker is a dynamic player up the middle for us and is capable of doing many things for this team,” Repay told the Larks. “He is going to be a table setter for this lineup that is packed full of power bats. He has the ability to steal some bags and make things happen with his feet. He also has a little bit of juice in that bat to run a ball out of the park from time to time.”
Aside from being teammates, Gann and Coker are also roommates. “He [Coker] snores really loud,” Gann said between laughs. “It’s terrible. I have to go to sleep before him, otherwise it won’t happen.”
The pair said they’re like brothers. “When we are not at practice, we are all goofing around and picking on each other,” Coker said of his current teammates.
Before they arrive this May, meet the pair for yourself here.
The Bismarck Larks are a proud affiliate of the Northwoods League, the proven leader in development of elite college baseball players. The Larks mission is to use FUN to make a difference in the lives of our families, businesses, players, and communities we serve. This is accomplished with a commitment to putting fans first and providing high quality family entertainment at affordable prices. In 2017, the Larks sold out 27 of their 36 home games in Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, home of Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field, and were named the Northwoods League’s Organization of the Year.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 185 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.