MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Danville, W.Va. native and Scott H.S. graduate Carter Lyles fulfilled a lifelong goal during his senior season with the Skyhawks by signing with the WVU baseball program.
“It was my dream school,” Lyles said. “I always wanted to go there. My mom actually showed me a picture of when I was a year old and I had a Mountaineer mascot hat on and the little jersey on. I was a big fan my whole life.”
Lyles was sold on becoming a Mountaineer when he first met eighth-year head coach Randy Mazey.
“Whenever you meet that guy in person, it is unreal. When I finally got to meet him, it was like ‘Wow’. He had this glow about him. He is a big-timer.”
Before arriving at WVU last fall, Lyles led Scott to the Class AA Region IV championship and a spot in the state tournament. Lyles was named the captain of the all-state first team as the Skyhawks posted a 28-8 record.
“We were a family and we counted on each other every single day, every single practice and every single game, from the first guy in the lineup to the last guy in the dugout.
“Some teams are just kind of mixed and matched from different places. But we knew each other for so long, we kind of anticipated what we could do. That’s how we got all of our success.”
Lyles appeared in three of WVU’s sixteen games before the pandemic canceled the rest of the season. Lyles struggled early, allowing the first five batters against him to reach base. He recovered well in his third appearance, striking out three batters in a scoreless inning at William & Mary on Feb. 29.
“It was exciting but a little bit nerve wracking. You get over it. I had a few more outings after that and once I got a little bit more used to seeing all the people there and the atmosphere, you just have to work on the mindset.
“You have to learn from your mistakes. Right now with me being a freshman, those mistakes could be the best thing that could happen to me. The biggest mistake you make could be the biggest impact on your life. I just take it as a learning process.”
Adding a changeup to his repertoire will be a focus for Lyles as he enters his second freshman season in the spring of 2021.
“I had a changeup in high school, but in high school you really don’t need it that much. That is one thing I need to add to my arsenal. I have had one, but it hasn’t been very consistent. If I can get that down, I am going to be a lot better off.”
Even though he played sparingly in his first season, Lyles says there are a number of ways to contribute to the team, even if it isn’t always between the baselines.
“Whether it be sitting in the dugout and cheering my guys on for a whole series or whether it be on the mound giving it everything I have, I am going to give my best every single time.”
Lyles will soon head to the upper midwest to compete in the Northwoods League for the summer. He will play for the franchise in Waterloo, Iowa.
“We have a few teams in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin. There should be some pretty good competition out there.”
(Taylor Kennedy contributed to this report)