FAYETTEVILLE — Matthias Carter is a firm believer in setting goals, and before this season there was one thing that the Purnell Swett graduate wanted to accomplish after an all-conference honorable mention season on the diamond as a freshman at Methodist University.
“To get honorable mention last year made me just want to get first-team all-conference even more,” he said. “It’s a goal for myself coming into college, to get all-conference. … I like to set a lot of goals for myself. I told myself in the fall I wanted to be first-team all-conference. I wanted to set that goal for myself.”
After a sophomore season anchoring the infield for the USA South regular season champion Monarchs, Carter reached his goal as one of three players from Methodist named first-team all-conference. In total, five players from Methodist were named all-conference and coach Tom Austin was named the USA South Coach of the Year.
After being the lone representative on the all-conference team last year, to have four teammates selected this season is a testament to the depth of the Monarchs, according to Carter.
“It’s not one or two people carrying the team, it’s different people everyday” he said. “There’s some games where the whole lineup hits, and some games where three or four guys carry the load. It’s a pretty balanced team.”
And the goals now take a step up for Carter from here.
“Reaching this goal now individually, I’d like to set another goal for next year, but I want to continue to focus on this year,” he said. “The individual awards is nice and everything, but I’d like to help my team get a championship.”
Carter earns his second straight all-conference selection and his first as a first-team pick. He is batting .358 on the year, and ranks third in the nation with 44 runs scored and sixth in the country with 30 walks, while also ranking fourth in Division III with nine sacrifice bunts.
Starting in every game this year, Carter has reached base safely in each of his last 27 games and holds an on-base percentage of .494.
Those numbers are up from a .343 batting average last season with 39 runs scored. The improvement came from an offseason of work that didn’t happen necessarily on the baseball field.
“I was just basically practicing and working everyday in the cage or going to the field to take ground balls or go in the gym,” he said. “I did something everyday except for Sunday basically. You have to do that everyday to be successful.”
Methodist won the USA South regular season championship on Sunday and is playing in the USA South tournament this week in LaGrange, Ga. In the latest national top 25 poll, the Monarchs checked in at No. 12 with a 26-7 record.
Just like Carter sets goals for himself that he has reached, his team has done the same this season.
“Our first goal was to get that regular season conference championship. We’ve done that so far so we are going to see how far it keeps going,” he said.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.