It’s highly unlikely that either Dave Van Horn or Tony Vitello will ever tell exactly what was said between the two men in the heated aftermath of Sunday’s rubber match between Arkansas vs Tennessee.
But based on their postgame comments, we know recruiting played a role in it.
As Pig Trail Nation’s Mike Irwin said afterward, it’s likely some of the animosity that boiled over in the fracas came from Vitello badmouthing Van Horn on the recruiting trail.
However, until today, we didn’t have any idea which recruits this might have involved.
Otis Kirk, a beat reporter for Pig Trail Nation, however, has done some digging to address that.
He found out, according to his sources, that a reason Vitello confronted Van Horn was one of the nation’s best junior college hitters — Logan Chambers of Bryant, Ark.
Chambers committed to Vitello’s Tennessee baseball program on April 15, but the sources told Kirk that Van Horn and the Arkansas baseball staff have continued to pursue him.
Vitello isn’t too pleased with that.
That Van Horn would be trying to flip Chambers is not surprising to followers of college football and basketball, where coaches try to change recruits’ minds all the time. This happens in college baseball, too, but has been less pervasive since the sport hasn’t traditionally been as popular and lucrative as football and basketball.
Things are getting plenty heated in SEC baseball, now, though.
The Van Horn-Vitello scuffle makes that plain as day.
Who is Logan Chambers?
Chambers, for starters, is a star on Crowder College (Neosho, Mo.), a recruiting hotspot for college baseball coaches.
The 2019 Bryant High graduate has hit .416 with 14 home runs, 62 RBIs, scored 84 runs and has stolen 14 bases.
He’s cooled down a bit from late April, when he was slashing .441/.497/.808 while helping lead Crowder to a 40-game winning streak.
“He’s maybe one of the best left-handed hitters or hitters we have had during my time here as far as power, two-strike ability, everything,” Crowder baseball coach Travis Lallemand told the Joplin Globe.
“He’s a pretty complete hitter. Velocity doesn’t bother him. He is always in rhythm with pitches. When he’s fully healthy, he’s one of those guys that can hit anything.”
“He’s just a very prolific junior college baseball hitter.”
Of Chambers, the Joplin Globe’s Derek Shore added:
“The max exit velocity off his bat that has been recorded is 94.4 miles per hour, according to Prep Baseball Report. He averages 86.7 mph off the bat.”
“To put that into context, the average exit velocity in major-league baseball is 89.”
“New York Yankees’ right fielder Aaron Judge currently leads the MLB with an average exit velocity of 97.8 mph this season.”
“If you ever see the guy in the weight room, you will understand why,” Lallemand said. “He can throw it around … very physical kid. He can as we call it facetiously roll-the-pole.”
Lallemand added Chambers has improved fielding up-the-middle at second base, which was somewhat of a shortcoming for him out of Bryant.
Definitely the kind of recruit worth fighting over.
See Chambers in action here:
Arkansas Razorback baseball players who have come from Crowder College:
Bryce Bartlett (2018)
Jalen Beeks (2013)
Sam Bates (2010)