This story originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of ESPNHS Georgia.
Kyle Carter doesn’t need his Columbus jersey or a Blue Devils jacket to get noticed around Georgia. Winning the Little League World Series at age 12 took care of that long ago.
“I’m a bit of a celebrity,” jokes the senior OF/LHP. “I still get people who come up to me about the World Series. They say, ‘I know it was a long time ago, but you pitched so well.’”
Fast-forward to 2012 and Carter’s name now stirs up discussion about a possible three-peat in Class AAA and his draft prospects in June. His propensity for delivering unforgettable moments on the diamond should give the locals plenty to yak about for years to come.
“He never surprises me; I always knew [his skill] was there,” says senior teammate J.T. Phillips, a two-way star and Georgia commit who has also piqued the interest of pro scouts. “His swing, man, you can’t teach that.”
Carter’s sweet stroke produced a team-record 22 homers and 47 RBIs in 2011, which propelled Columbus to 30 wins and its second straight AAA title. The Georgia recruit also went 9-4 on the bump with a 2.33 ERA and 79 K’s.
But it’s not just Carter’s insane stats that create a paparazzi-like atmosphere whenever the Columbus bus rolls into town. It’s the stages where he accumulates those numbers. During last year’s title run, Carter launched three homers in a second-round playoff win over Ringgold, then followed it up with a three-run shot that helped knot the state final series at a game apiece. He also smacked seven final-round bombs against a stacked field of sluggers to win the sixth annual Power Showcase Home Run Derby at Arizona’s Chase Field in January.
“I like being in big situations,” says Carter. “A lot of people put pressure on themselves in the game. Practice is where you put the pressure on yourself. The game is supposed to be fun.”