Heber Springs players, both young and old, took advantage of the extended high school baseball season in preparation for next spring.

According to the Arkansas Activities Association, a school may play up to eight events during the summer.

Heber Springs played seven doubleheaders and will conclude the schedule at Rose Bud starting at 5 p.m., June 17.

"We started the extended season around 10 years ago," Heber Springs head coach Jeff Bise said. "We don't have American Legion baseball like in previous years and this gives them an opportunity to play. We play nearby schools and it works out for everybody."

The team's roster comprises returning players, plus other players who will join the program for the first time.

"We had different players every game," Bise said. "It's difficult to get everyone together during the summer because of players working, involvement in other sports and camps."

Bise said one of the benefits playing during the summer come from giving younger players experience and an early start on adjusting to playing high school baseball in the spring.

"For the incoming freshmen, they are playing older players," he said. "I'm watching younger players improving since the first game. They are swinging the bat well and putting the ball in play."

Older players also are among the players gaining experience. Seniors Fate Berry, Alec Kelley and Wyatt Sanders, and juniors Connor Bise, Hunter Kent and Garret Hudseth have played every game.

"A lot of them play travel ball and face tougher competition," Bise said. "It's a different game than Little League for the younger players. The speed of the game changes. The younger players play against better athletes. They get an early start on making adjustments to the high school game. It also helps to learn how to play with their teammates."