PARKERS CHAPEL - During his career at Parkers Chapel, Mark Looney has enjoyed victories on the biggest stages of high school baseball in Arkansas.
On Thursday, Looney picked up a win he will savor more than most, as he picked up his 500th career win in the Trojans' 4-0 win over Taylor at Robert McKinnon Park.
"It's a tribute to the kids," Looney said. "What's special to me is that all 500 of them have been right here at Parkers Chapel over two decades. I've had such tremendous kids to come and go throughout the 20 years.
"They just work hard and try to live up to the way we like to play the game, and it's playing it hard every day, playing it with some emotion and to the best of your ability. I've had several groups of kids come and go.
"We've had a lot of kids go on to college and play baseball, and I'm very proud of that. I started here as a young kid 20 years ago, and we've rotated a lot of kids through this program. Every kid that comes through my program here, they try to uphold the standard. I'm just proud of these kids.
"Every group, every team is always different. They have different talent levels, personalities, but one thing that has been constant has been their will to work at practice day in and day out, and their mentality to go out there and play the game the way it should be played."
Looney got his 500th win thanks to a superb pitching performance by T.J. Bale.
A sophomore, Bale fired a two-hit shutout, striking out seven while allowing three walks.
Bale got all of the run support he would need in the first.
The sophomore helped himself by drawing a leadoff walk, and Trace Blaylock followed with a free pass of his own.
Carson Worthey, who went 3-for-4, ripped the first of his two doubles in the contest, scoring Bale and Blaylock to give the Trojans (16-9) a 2-0 lead. Worthey later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Hobbs.
Parkers Chapel scored their final run in the sixth. With one out, Tyler Sanders was hit by a pitch, Reece Griffin singled and Tyler Martin reached on an error to load the bases.
A run scored after Bale's grounder to third was mishandled for an error.
Worthey added a single to finish his three-hit day at the plate.
Griffin was 2-for-3, while Sanders finished 1-for-2 for the Trojans.
With his 500th win in the books, Looney was very appreciative of the support he has received during his tenure.
"Throughout the 20 years, it starts at the top with the school board," Looney said. "They've been very supportive of me. If there has been anything that I have needed, I've gotten it. For that, I'm very grateful. They've helped us be successful."