Will Carpenter just wants to play baseball, pure and simple.
And for as long as possible.
That tells you all you need to know about why, after spending his freshman year of college at Merrimack College, the ex-Whittier Tech standout and Haverhill Legion Post 4 pitcher is looking to transfer. He yearns to be on the baseball diamond.
An accounting major, Carpenter has mostly good things to say about Merrimack, relating that “I liked it there — it’s a good academic school.” But one thing rankled him enough to leave for another school.
He didn’t feel he got a fair shot at making the baseball team.
Carpenter had planned on walking-on at Merrimack. But he discovered that, as an impending Division 1 school, it would not be holding open tryouts.
If not recruited, it would require a private tryout with the coach to get an opportunity to prove yourself. Twice, Carpenter emailed the coach looking for a tryout, but he never got a positive response.
“It was pretty discouraging and I was kind of mad they didn’t give me a tryout,” said Carpenter last week. “A lot of coaches say there’s always room for a lefty, especially a junk lefty, but I never got a chance.”
So, other than tossing the ball around a couple of times, Carpenter played no baseball in the spring. To say he was rusty when he started the Legion season would be an understatement.
“I was really off at first,” he said. “It took a couple of relief outings and a start to find my velocity and my location. After not pitching since last Legion season, I was worried about the velocity.”
Indeed Carpenter, who relies on four pitches with a slider perhaps his best offering, looked shaky in the early going. His usual control was not there and he got hit more than in the past. But gradually, his command on the mound returned and now he seems as good as ever.
Carpenter’s rise culminated last week in an eight-inning shutout of Danvers in which he struck out 10 and allowed only four hits and one walk. In Legion action, he is now 3-0 with 72 strikeouts in 60 innings with a 1.95 ERA. Overall, including independent games, he is 4-1 with a 3.65 ERA.
“I’m feeling pretty good about my pitching now,” said Carpenter, who plays first base when not on the mound. “I actually think I’m throwing harder than I ever have.”
With that in mind, Carpenter is weighing his options for next year. He’s gotten considerable interest from Fisher College in Boston and he’s hoping that other schools take notice as well. For him, playing baseball is all important.
“I’ve always played baseball and not playing really stinks,” he said. “I really love pitching but I also just like baseball in general. I’m not the best hitter, but I love the pressure of hitting in a pressure situation. It gets my adrenaline going.”
That’s one of the things that Post 4 co-coach Larry O’Brien likes about Carpenter.
“He doesn’t shy away from tough situations when on the mound or in the batter’s box,” said O’Brien. “Will always wants to pitch against tough opponents and even though he doesn’t hit for average he gets a hit when it counts.”
And, says co-coach John Trask, Carpenter is a team player who is not just looking out for himself.
“When we moved Will from fifth in the order to ninth, he didn’t pout. Instead he fired back, ‘Second lead-off .. I love it,’” said Trask. “Then, hitting out of the nine hole, Will’s bases-loaded triple against Lawrence was the winning hit.
“Three weeks ago Will asked me if I could help him find a place to play in college. We’ve started the process. Some lucky school is going to get a live fresh lefty arm with four years of eligibility.”
Which is all he wants.
Haverhill’s Will Carpenter can point to an impressive pitching resume as he searches for another school.
Whittier — CAC Large School MVP, 7-0 with 1.20 ERA, 94 Ks in 64 innings; 15-0 record in three years at Whittier
Legion Post 4 2018 — 2.08 ERA, 53Ks in 34 innings
Legion Post 4 2019 — 1.95 ERA, 72Ks in 60 innings