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SouthArk’s Riggs garners World Series accolade

by Jason Avery | June 7, 2023 at 12:00 a.m.
Riggs honored: South Arkansas College’s Ryan Riggs runs the bases during a game earlier this season at the El Dorado/Union County Recreation Complex. Riggs was recently named to the NJCAA Division II World Series All-Tournament team after going 7-for-12 with two home runs and six RBIs in four games. (Heath Waldrop/Special to the News-Times)

South Arkansas College’s season may be over, but honors for the Stars are still rolling in.

Ryan Riggs, who will be moving on to play at Arkansas-Fort Smith, was one of 10 players named to the NJCAA Division II World Series All-Tournament team.

A sophomore catcher, Riggs had three straight multi-hit games in the World Series that included a 3-for-3 performance with two home runs and four RBIs in a win over Lansing (Mich.) Community College.

The win over Lansing was the second for SouthArk over a team ranked in the top five in the country following their win at top-ranked LSU-Eunice during the regular season. Lansing entered the postseason ranked No. 4 in the final poll of the regular season.

Riggs finished 7-for-12 with two home runs and six RBIs for the Stars, who reached the World Series in only the program’s second year of competition.

“Ryan had a great tournament,” SouthArk coach Cannon Lester said. “He had two homers against the No. 3 team in the nation and just kept hitting. He was a staple in our three hole for two years and his leadership will be missed.”

Riggs finished second on the team in batting with a .363 average. He hit six home runs and drove in 41 runs.

Riggs also had three separate hitting streaks of 10, nine and eight games during the season.

The World Series also produced SouthArk’s second signing with a Division I school.

Elijah Nichols, whose solo home run opened the scoring in the winner-take-all game against Western Oklahoma State in the finals of the Plains District Tournament, is heading to Arkansas State.

Nichols also hit two home runs and drove in five runs in SouthArk’s win over Frederick (Md.) Community College to open the World Series. He finished with six RBIs in the tournament.

“He’s going to get to go to the Division I school that he’s dreamed of his whole life,” Lester said. “They got to see him in the World Series, and the first day, he hit two homers, so that didn’t hurt. He’s a good defender, and they needed some depth in the middle there. He’s from Rivercrest (High School), right up there beside Jonesboro. He’s said from Day 1 that’s where he wanted to go, and he finally made it happen. It’s kind of funny how some of these stories end up. We’re excited for Elijah.”

Nichols hit .279 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs as a sophomore, finishing second on the team in the latter two categories.

Sophomore left-hander Hunter Royal was SouthArk’s first Division 1 signee this year after signing with Arkansas-Little Rock.

Overall, SouthArk has 13 players from this year’s team that will be playing baseball at four-year schools next year. 


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