For Hornets’ coach, a little sweet to go with the bitter at North Little Rock park

Bryant's Garrett Bock tries to get down a sacrifice bunt during Monday's game. (Photo by Rick Nation)

By Rob Patrick

As is the case for most folks who lose a loved one before their time, Kirk Bock doesn’t go a day without remembering his dad.

Billy Bock was an Arkansas legend for his athletic accomplishments and his long list of coaching achievements, a Hall of Famer. He was just 68 years old in 2003 when, after his Pine Bluff Zebras team had played at North Little Rock’s DeJanis Field in Burns Park, he collapsed on the way to the team bus. He passed away July 8 of that year.[more]

Bryant head coach Kirk Bock. (Photo by Rick Nation)

For Kirk Bock, the head coach of the Bryant Hornets, any game at DeJanis Field evokes memories of those events. But, on Monday night on the very same field Billy Bock coached the last game of his 44-year career, the Hornets — including senior Garrett Bock, Kirk’s son, Billy’s grandson — gave their coach something sweet to go with the bitter. They defeated the Catholic Rockets, 1-0, to earn a trip to Fayetteville’s Baum Stadium at the University of Arkansas for the Class 7A State baseball championship.

“Every time I come to this field, I think about that,” Kirk Bock allowed. “If we were ever going to make it back to the finals — because that’s what he was trying to do that year — I’m glad it’s on this field."

Just as Garrett's playing for him, Kirk played for Billy and was a member of a couple of those State championship teams.  

“There’s no doubt he was with us tonight,” Kirk said of his dad. “I’ve seen him do some amazing things when I thought they were out and gone. They’d always come back and win. Or they’d go into a skid like we did. They’d always pull out and win a dad-gum state championship.

“I wish I had what he had to make kids do that. I don’t. I don’t’ think anybody ever will. But there’s no doubt, over these last seven or eight games and, especially in this tournament, he was right there with us.”

And he's smiling. 


  1. Ronnie Mayall

    Great game last night, if that don’t get you pumped for Friday nights game then nothing will. I thought Blake pitched a great game and then Ben came in and finished it off. Two down and one to go to achieve the ultimate goal of winning a state championship and this is what you guys have worked so hard to achieve, something that not many ever get to experience. Come support the Hornets Friday night because it will almost be a home game for Van Burean and they are going to fill up the stands.

    If you want it bad enough, then go get it!


  2. Mark Blankenship

    Congratulations guys! Hard work and dedication prevails again! We’ll see you Friday night at Baum Stadium! Go get it!


  3. Cindy Alpe

    Truly an exciting game!!! CANNOT wait until Friday! You guys played an amazing game and I have really enjoyed watching this season!!! Good Luck and HAVE A BLAST!!!!!!!

  4. Kathy and Tom Daniel

    Hard work,dedication and believing in yourself, even when others didn’t, has just paid off!! We are so very proud of each of you and the way you have represented your school and yourselves this season. Enjoy every minute of your experience at Baum and remember… you are ALL winners already!!!
    GO HORNETS!!!!

  5. rch3

    I am so fortunate that I was able to play for Coach Bock (Billy) one year (’83-State Championship). Coach was something special…definitely missed but never forgotten.

  6. steve glenn

    Congratulations. Great job by Coach Bock, his staff, the players and the fans. Truly a team effort. Go Hornets!

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