The clock is winding down, and Abel Carter knows it.
Carter, the three-sport star at Carson High, will soon be making a decision that will have a big impact on his future as an athlete.
Sometime this month, Washington State will offer Carter, a hard-hitting third baseman, a partial baseball scholarship. Besides the Naval Academy, the Cougars are the only D-1 school to offer Carter, who’s arguably the best all-around athlete in Northern Nevada.
Carter hit .342 as a sophomore starter, and followed that up with a .404 average as a junior, including 13 extra-base hits.
“I want to see if I’m going to get anything (Division I) from football so I can weigh my options,” Carter admitted. “I would prefer to play one sport if I go Division I. I always wondered how good I could be if I just did one thing.
“I have always wanted to play a professional sport, and baseball seems like the best option. You can definitely have a longer career in baseball.”
And the fact former Carson star Bryce Moyle is already at WSU, certainly doesn’t hurt in the decision making process.
“That would be a big factor,” Carter said. “He has already gone through it. I know I can always talk to him.”
According to Carter, he has an offer from Division II Southwest Baptist where his brother, Asa, goes. Carter said he would play both sports if he went to Southwest Baptist.
“Asa likes it there,” Carter said. “He is not quite starting there yet in football, but he likes the program. He likes to do track. It would be nice seeing my brother all of the time.”
Bryan Manoukian, Carson High baseball coach, said the sky is the limit for Carter, and he knew he had something special as early as Carter’s freshman season.
“I don’t think there is a ceiling to be honest,” Manoukian said recently. “He is the single best position player I’ve ever coached. He already has the size and speed of a college baseball player. His work ethic and competitive nature drives him. I don’t think Abel picks up a bat or ball until a couple of days before spring tryouts every year. It takes him 2 1/2 to 3 weeks to start feeling good (from football and wrestling), and he still manages to put up tremendous numbers for us.
“His first game against North Valleys he made a costly error. Then against Damonte Ranch, he gets the game-winning hit. He was very calm. It broke their 17-game win streak. It was certainly an eye-popping moment for us.”
Carter would go 3-for-8 in his abbreviated audition, but it certainly was a precursor of what was to come.
Carter always feels he’s behind everybody else entering baseball season. That may change a little bit this year. Carter suffered a shoulder injury during the state wrestling tournament, and it affected him in the field last season for a couple of weeks. He has opted to play basketball for new coach Jordan Glover this winter.
“Other than the summer, I don’t play catch or swing a bat until tryouts every spring,” Carter said. “This year I don’t have a class last period, so I’ll go down and swing (in the cages) before basketball practice.”
“He has natural instincts on the basketball floor that can’t be taught,” Glover said. “Abel loves to compete, and he never backs down. Those type of players know how to win.”
Manoukian said he has been working with Carter on his hitting and throwing; mainly mechanical things.
“We have been working on making consistent contact in the zone where Abel can create the most back spin and really drive the ball,” Manoukian said. “He needs to let the ball get to that point and stay connected longer through the baseball. He is so strong that he cannot be in the best position at contact and still hit the baseball really hard, but it is for a single, maybe a double. I want to see him increase the hard contact consistency and hit for more power.
“He doesn’t always follow through (on his throw). Sometimes it’s all arm, and that can cause the ball to tail.”
Carter is primed for another big year, and like football, much of Carson’s success will hinge on his performance.
Certainly a familiar theme this year. As Carter goes, so go the Senators.