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07/13/2022 12:00 AM

Carver Stepped Up on the Bump, Delivered at the Dish

Colin Carver emerged as a key member of the pitching staff and also made crucial contributions at the plate for the Valley Regional baseball team this spring. Photo courtesy of Colin Carver

A pitcher is one of the most important players on any baseball team, and having a dominant pitcher makes your squad that much more dangerous. The Valley Regional baseball team has developed a talented pitcher in Colin Carver, who emerged to have a stellar junior season for the Warriors this year. Colin’s performance on the mound and at the plate helped Valley enjoy one of its best campaigns in recent memory.

Colin’s baseball career began with tee-ball at a young age. Colin learned a lot from coaches who became his mentors as he worked his way up the ranks. Colin followed baseball closely and saw his love for the game flourish as he watched the professionals play.

“As soon as I could walk, I really got into baseball. I would always watch MLB games, and my biggest inspiration was Derek Jeter,” says Colin. “He inspired me to want to play baseball. Growing up and playing the game, that was a big part of it.”

Feeling comfortable in his own cleats was a process for Colin. He put it upon himself to make strides after tee-ball in order to succeed at the next levels. Colin came to the realization that he wanted to seriously pursue baseball and play the sport throughout his middle school and high school years.

“I had to start taking it more serious. I think tee-ball was just a feeler,” Colin says. “Getting into middle school, I realized I do have a passion for this. In high school, it grew.”

Colin’s development into a strong pitcher took shape during his junior season at Valley Regional. Colin elevated his game to the next echelon while leading Valley’s pitching corps alongside fellow junior Braeden Sparaco. Colin also proved a prolific contributor at the dish for a team that finished with a record of 22-4 this spring. Colin embraced the relationships that he created with his teammates and appreciated the collective effort that everyone gave in each game.

“It’s great because you have a chemistry with people so it makes it so much easier to work with them. Even when you’re playing against somebody you know, it just makes the game a lot better and more enjoyable,” says Colin. “We all get along. We’re all one, and it was such a great season. People put up numbers like I’ve never seen before. It was just so fun to watch and be a part of.”

Valley’s season featured an appearance in the Shoreline Conference final, after which the Warriors won their first two games in the Class S State Tournament to advance to the quarterfinals. While he was hoping to help Valley go a little deeper in the playoffs, Colin feels proud of what his squad accomplished by putting together a special season that featured a long reel of highlights.

“I knew from the beginning that we were going to put up a really good fight and go on a run, so it didn’t really shock me,” Colin says. “Personally, I thought we were going to win Shorelines and states, but when we didn’t, it was hard to take in. We needed to celebrate how far we got instead of the loss that we had.”

Colin finished his junior season with a 1.20 ERA and 60 strikeouts, throwing a no-hitter in a 15-0 win versus East Hampton on May 16. He also posted a .405 batting average to go with 6 home runs, one of which came in Valley’s 15-1 victory over Plainfield in states. That game also marked one of Colin’s best pitching performances of the 2022 campaign.

“I was on point with my pitching after a rain delay, which I didn’t really think would happen. I thought I would struggle, because it was muddy,” says Colin. “Obviously, nothing is going to be perfect, but especially with the weather, there was something about that game. I ended up pitching my best game of the season, and we started off really hot. It was just a great game to watch and be a part of.”

Colin makes sure that he holds himself accountable while being a good teammate for his fellow Warriors. Along with playing a vital role on the field, Colin also brings an energetic personality to the dugout for Head Coach Brian Drinkard’s squad.

“Starting off of the field, Colin’s pretty loose around the guys. He’s a fun teammate to be around,” Drinkard says. “Colin doesn’t really carry himself above the other players. It stands out, what he brings to the group as a teammate.”

Colin loves experiencing success on the diamond alongside a group of ballplayers with whom he’s grown close. After establishing himself as quality pitcher in his junior season, Colin wants to lead the Warriors to even more success when he steps on the hill as a senior in 2023.

“I’m going to definitely bring it next year, because I think we have a good shot of going very far,” says Colin. “Being a team player and having the chemistry is going to be the biggest thing to take us that far. State championship. That’s the goal.”