Hart right-hander Ryan Carolan fancies himself as an avid outdoorsman.
Hunting and fishing make up some of his favorite hobbies, which led the senior to Forrest City, Iowa, last month with his father to visit Waldorf University.
A few weeks later, Carolan decided he was going to attend the NAIA program to extend his baseball career, and officially announced his verbal commitment Tuesday.
“I like the small-town feel out there,” Carolan said. “I like the smaller classes and smaller majors, too. It’s more personal. You’re not just a number.”
It wasn’t just the small Iowa town filled with corn fields that had Carolan ready to commit to Waldorf.
“They told me I’d have a chance to earn a spot in their starting rotation,” Carolan said. “That was really important to me.”
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Carolan went 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 10 appearances (eight starts) for the Indians last season. As a sophomore, he made 10 starts and went 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA. His control has been a strong suit, walking just 14 batters in 76 2/3 innings over the last two years, per MaxPreps.
A few other schools were interested, but Carolan was intrigued when Waldorf contacted him.
“Being a more outdoorsy, country kid, I was excited to hang out with people who share the same interests,” Carolan said. “(Waldorf) reached out to me and I kind of just fell in love.”
Carolan threw a flat ground bullpen session during his visit. The Southern California product wasn’t deterred by the frigid conditions that sometimes come with living in the Midwest.
“I actually like the cold, so I’m pretty excited for that,” Carolan said. “I’m not too worried about the weather.”
With Carolan’s commitment, Hart’s senior class now includes five players who have either signed or are committed to play collegiate baseball.
Outfielder Cole Roederer (UCLA), right-hander Bryce Collins (Arizona) and infielders Cody Jefferis (University of San Diego) and Josh Cerpa (CSU Northridge) all signed their National Letter of Intent on Nov. 8.
“It’s nice having so many players around you like that to push you,” Carolan said. “Even for the guys who aren’t committed, they play amazing defense behind me and I wouldn’t have gotten here without them.”