Jake Carr, the No. 1 pitcher for Class AAA state champion St. Albans, has committed to the baseball program at West Virginia University.
Carr, a left-hander who just began his junior year of classes at SA on Monday, was selected to the all-state first team after helping the Red Dragons capture the program’s first baseball title in June.
He went 6-2 as a sophomore with a 2.61 ERA and often overpowered hitters, averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning with 110 K’s in 56 1/3 innings. During the regular season, he pitched a five-inning no-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 10-0 win over eventual Class AA champion Bridgeport.
Carr said WVU’s offer was extended over the weekend as he attended a showcase at Monongalia County Ballpark outside Morgantown.
“It was pretty shocking,’’ Carr said. “They offered me Saturday night, and it didn’t hit me. I didn’t think about anything then, but when I left the ballpark for the showcase I thought to myself, ‘WVU just offered me! I’ve got to think about it.’ So I called them [Sunday].
“It’s just awesome up there. I love the all-turf field. They treated me like family, and I think it’s good for me.’’
Carr also contributed heavily to SA’s batting attack as a leadoff hitter, carrying a .349 average with three home runs and 17 RBIs. He drew 34 walks, bumping his on-base percentage up to .503, and scored 27 runs.
In the state AAA championship game, an 8-2 victory against Hurricane, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Carr led off the game with a home run — the only long ball of the entire state tournament at Appalachian Power Park. He also added a sacrifice fly in that game and caught four balls in center field.
St. Albans coach Rick Whitman thinks WVU is more interested in Carr as a pitcher than a position player.
“That’s probably where he projects at that level, as a left-handed pitcher,’’ Whitman said. “They like the fact that he can put on some weight and maybe be close to 90 miles an hour by his senior year. They really like his curveball; they think it’s a Division I curveball right now.’’
Carr, whose fastball topped out at 84 or 85 mph this season, hopes to hit 87-89 mph before he gets out of high school.
“That’s my goal by my senior year,’’ he said, “to be in that range by then and be able to hit 90 a few times.
“That’s all I’ll do for the next two years — get better and keep my grades up. The big thing is to improve — that’s all I’ve got to do.’’
WVU has been his only true offer, but Carr said he has also been in contact with Marshall, Penn State and Ohio University and West Virginia State.