Elizabethton’s Carter reflects on commitment to Duke, Cyclones state trip

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

During the 2017-18 school year, Elizabethton’s Evan Carter was able to mark off some items on his wish list.
Make it to the state baseball tournament—check.
Commit to a NCAA Division I baseball program—check.
Back in October, the upcoming junior, after visiting baseball camps at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, verbally committed to play baseball for the Blue Devils on scholarship.
“When they first called me up and told me they were going to offer me a scholarship, I was at a loss for words,” said Carter. “I didn’t know what to do. As it sinks in you just realize how blessed you are and how many people helped get you to where you are at. I am just really thankful.”
Catching the eye of a DI school not only takes natural talent, it also takes work and determination. With the hopes of playing college ball, Carter set out with a mission as he attended baseball camps at colleges on his wish list. While attending a camp at Duke, Carter was put to the test as officials with the Blue Devils program measured things such as vertical jump, 60-yard dash speed, and swing velocity.
“You really need to get yourself out there as soon as you can,” said Carter. “Just get out there in front of the people you want to get in front of.
“It’s kind of nerve-racking,” added Carter about performing in front of college coaches. “There are a lot of people there. A lot of big-time coaches there. But once you get going, muscle memory takes over.”
After going through the camp, Carter was invited back to Duke where he took a tour of the campus and watched a Blue Devils basketball game. The trip was capped off with Carter meeting one-on-one with Duke head baseball coach Chris Pollard, who offered Carter a scholarship to play baseball for the Blue Devils.
“I was kind of shaking,” said Carter about receiving the offer. “I mean it is a dream school up there. It was just awesome.”
Carter’s commitment to Duke came before Cyclones baseball would embark on one of the program’s most successful season’s since 1958. The 2018 ‘Betsy baseball team made a deep run into the TSSAA Class AA State Baseball Tournament as Elizabethton made its way into the state semifinals. The Cyclones defeated two state-level teams (Grundy and Stewart Co.) after winning both the region and district titles.
“We have God running through our locker room,” said Carter. “That is a big help. We just love each other and are great friends. We are there to fight for one another. We may not have been the best team down there, we just fought harder than anyone else.”
In 2018, Carter maintained a .367 batting average while knocking in 46 RBIs while recording 40 runs. On the mound, Carter tossed for 42.1 innings as he racked up a 3.307 ERA and struck out 46 batters.
For any high school baseball coach, watching a player excel and get offers from DI schools is always a rewarding thing, and that is definitely the case for Elizabethton head coach Ryan Presnell.
“It is gratifying as a coach to see a kid get the chance to play at that level,” said Presnell. “The great thing is, I have him for two more seasons. I get to watch him grow leaps and bounds over the next couple of years and really watch him blossom into one of the better baseball players to come out of our area.”
With college ball waiting on the horizon, Carter still has two more years of high school baseball in front of him, and Carter believes that ‘Betsy baseball still has some momentum after this past season’s successes.
“We are looking pretty good,” said Carter. “We have a lot of people coming up and a lot of people still here. Pitching wise we are good. Hitting wise we are good. I think we will make another good run next season.”

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