Ty Caraker of Glenn was not happy about the outlook for the upcoming baseball season. The senior left-handed pitcher was disgruntled to the point where he decided to quit playing for the Bobcats.
The root of Caraker’s dissatisfaction was a perceived lack of playing time. That notion was based on what happened in 2018 with Logan McNeill, a fellow pitcher and good friend of Caraker who graduated last year.
McNeill didn’t get much playing time as a senior. Caraker reasoned that since they both were pitchers only, the same would more than likely happen to him in 2019.
“I was worried that the way Logan didn’t get his shine would be how my senior year would go,” Caraker said. “So, initially, I was going to just avoid playing at all.”
After being informed of Caraker’s decision, Coach Keith Walker of Glenn didn’t attempt to convince him to reconsider. Instead, he encouraged Caraker to think things over before making a final decision.
“I didn’t hear from Ty again until a few days before the start of tryouts (in early February),” Walker said. “ That’s when I learned that he had changed his mind and was ready to join us.”
Caraker’s change of heart came about in the most unexpected manner. It happened while he was working his part-time job at the Proehlific Park Sports Complex.
“My supervisor (Darren Scudder) asked me if I was going to play my senior year and I told him no,” Caraker said. “Then he said something that really stuck with me. ‘If you don’t play, you will always regret it.’ I thought about it a lot. I’m so glad that I followed his advice.”
This has been a busy and productive campaign for Caraker, who will join Western Carolina’s baseball team as a walk-on next fall. In 14 appearances, he pitched 26 innings and posted a 3-1 record with two saves. The most impressive stat, however, is his 1.35 ERA. Aside from that, opponents hit .229 against Caraker.
“Ty was key for us,” Walker said. “He had 14 appearances in 24 games, which is a true reflection of his importance. He has the ability to change speeds and spot pitch to different locations around the plate. That’s what helps to keep hitters off-balance. He doesn’t throw hard and he’s not a strikeout artist. Ty just gets people out.”
Caraker’s curve and split-fingered fastball make him a formidable presence on the mound. At 6-foot-4, he’s rangy and his delivery makes it difficult for batters to clearly track the ball coming out of his hand.
“I throw with a three-quarters motion. But since I stoop low, it looks like I’m throwing sidearm. When I come at hitters with my fastball, it looks faster than it really is.”