Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2013
CHINA GROVE — Carson baseball coach Chris Cauble kids outfielder Dylan Carpenter about the spaghetti-noodle arms he brought with him as a freshman.
How times have changed.
Now, Cauble tells him to wear cut-off shirts to show off those muscles.
That’s how far Carpenter has come since the early days of his career. He is taking those strong arms to Catawba for his college career.
For Carpenter, it’s a dream come true.
“I just always wanted to go there,” he said. “I tried to make my senior year my best.”
The interest in Catawba actually began during last summer’s Legion season when Carpenter played for Catawba assistant Michael Lowman. They formed quite a bond.
“He told me I was good,” Carpenter said. “He made me feel I should go there.”
Cauble could see the interest.
“Dylan really liked playing for Michael,” he said. “Their relationship is really good. Since then, Dylan kept saying, ‘I want to go to Catawba.’ We talked about other places but he always came back to Catawba. He said, ‘Even if I have to sit out a year, I want to go to Catawba.’ ”
So Carpenter had something to play for as a senior. He hit .420 and had key RBIs throughout Carson’s 24-4 season. And the weight room was a big reason for his and Carson’s success.
“Dylan came in real confident,” Cauble said. “He felt good about himself after hitting the weight room.”
In fact, Carpenter has become a weight-room warrior.
“It’s like a hobby now,” Carpenter smiled. “Once you get into it, it’s hard to quit.”
Speaking of weights, Carpenter’s most satisfying win was against East Rowan, a team that always had Carson’s number. That triumph propelled the Cougars to NPC regular-season and tournament championships. He had two hits in that one.
“That was like a huge weight off our shoulders,” he said.
Catawba will be getting a speedy recruit. The left-fielder runs 6.7 in the 60. He was perfect as the No. 2 hitter behind K.J. Pressley.
“I try to put the ball in play because I know it will be hard to get me out since I am a little faster than everybody else,” Carpenter said.
Cauble likes everything about this signing.
“Catawba was excited knowing Dylan would come and sit out instead of going somewhere else and playing,” Cauble said.
Carpenter realizes head coach Jim Gantt is bringing back a veteran Indian outfield.
“I might could play the following year,” Carpenter said.
It’s a perfect fit.
“Dylan feels safe at Catawba,” Cauble said. “He knows a lot of the players. It’s where he needs to be. They’re really, really glad he’s coming. They wanted to him to come.”