METHUEN — After an unfulfilling year and a half at Stonehill, Cal Carroll decided it was time for a change.
He looked in the mirror and saw a pitcher. The Chieftain coaches saw an outfielder ... and probably a reserve outfielder.
The former Eagle-Tribune Athlete of the Year at Methuen High transferred in January to Suffolk and he’s almost giddy about it.
“It’s a huge change but I love it,” he said.
His grades are up (3.2 GPA last semester) and he pitched like he did in his days with the Rangers. The sophomore reliever went 3-0 with 3 saves, a 4.31 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 31.1 innings to help the Rams to a 29-14 season.
“I was a set-up guy so I was in a ton of close situations,” explained Carroll. “That’s what I live for.”
He didn’t live for being a reserve outfielder, which he was as a freshman at Stonehill, where he struggled at the plate (3 for 20) in his limited at-bats.
“Honestly, Stonehill wasn’t the best fit for me,” he said. “I wanted to continue pitching. It wasn’t in the cards for me. Suffolk totally has been a better fit. I’m really happy where I am.”
So is Suffolk.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Rams head coach Cary McConnell, who has only had three mid-year transfers in his 18 seasons at the Boston school. “I couldn’t quantify how big a competitor he is. He’s a bulldog on the mound. He wants the ball. He just got better and better and we used him more and more.”
To the point where he set a school record for pitching appearances in a season.
“We’re obviously always looking for arms and he fit the ball,” said McConnell. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”