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Dexter Carter "Brings Knockout Punch To Post Season"

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: September 15, 2008
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Sept. 15, 2008

"Voyagers knockout punch to postseason" 09/05/2008 10:00 AM ET By Bryan Smith / MLB.com

It's going to click, Jerry Meyers would always tell right-handed phenom Dexter Carter. How could it not? Carter is 6-foot-6, a fantastic raw athlete and capable of throwing a baseball in the mid-90s. However, height and velocity do not guarantee success, and in two years under Meyers at Old Dominion University, it did not click for Carter. Entering his junior season, expectations were never higher for Carter and the ODU Monarchs. The team would finish 25-27. Carter would finish his last college season with a 8.76 ERA, issuing nearly a walk per inning.

But while tools don't always translate to results, they certainly are always noticed. So despite his junior-season struggles, the Chicago White Sox drafted Carter and his big fastball in the 13th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Since then?

"I think everything started clicking for me," said Carter, reiterating that his success validates his college coach's longtime predictions.

Carter finished his first pro summer as a Pioneer League All-Star, leading the league with a 2.23 ERA. However, the most glaring statistic -- for Carter and for the Great Falls Voyagers as a whole -- might be that Carter has struck out 89 batters in 68 2/3 innings.

The Voyagers, who have one regular-season game remaining, will likely finish the season with the top three strikeout artists in the league in their rotation. Carter joined Kevin Skogley (88 strikeouts) and Daniel Hudson (a league-leading 90) atop the leader board. Joining Hudson on top is the icing on the cake, as Hudson was Carter's teammate for two seasons at Old Dominion. After the two struggled together in the Colonial Athletic Association all spring, thriving in the Pioneer League all summer was excellent, even if Carter finishes behind him in strikeouts.

"We made a joke about [strikeouts] the other day, it's definitely a friendly competition," Carter said. "We've known each other for a long time, because we played baseball together in Virginia growing up. We're living together now. It's fun."

The two have made big changes since struggling in the spring, as they are certainly the driving influences in Great Falls' playoff run. Carter made a commitment to throw across his body less, and his command improved immediately, with his walk rate dropping from once per inning to about once every three. He also has a new, aggressive approach that has been the driving influence in his strikeout numbers.

"Just try to put batters away," Carter explains. "It's just like a boxing match. You want to throw the first punch, then you want to throw the second punch. If you get the second punch thrown, it's pretty much a knockout."

While Great Falls certainly has its fair share of punch-outs this season, their dangerous pitching staff should be a useful knockout tool in the playoffs.

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