Carson Shaver is taking great pride in the fact three of the top four hitters in the Show-Me Collegiate League are recent southwest Missouri high school grads and Missouri State signees.
After collecting four hits Sunday, Shaver leads the league with a .550 batting average. The Ozark grad is 11-for-20 with four doubles and six RBIs.
Kickapoo grad Mason Auer, of the Springfield Cobras, is hitting .538 and Ozark grad Blake Mazley, of the Nationals, is hitting .364. They'e bringing out the best in each other while battling for the batting title.
“I like to brag on us because we’re all going to the same college and will be rooming together,” Shaver said. “We like to compete against each other and see how much better one of us can be than the others.”
Shaver is showing off his versatility. He’s traded in his catcher’s mitt on occasion to play third base. He was exclusively a catcher as a senior, but played third as a junior.
Shaver hopes being able to play both positions will up his chances for playing time at MSU.
“(MSU coaches) are talking about having me do both, play catcher and third base, so I asked if I could get some time in at third this summer,” he said. “I feel comfortable there. I love playing third.”
Shaver is proving to be an adept baserunner, as well. He alertly stretched a single into a double Sunday.
“I may not be the fastest one out there. Obviously, I’m pretty slow,” Shaver said. “But I think I get good reads on the ball, so that I can extend an extra base when I can.”
Also, he has two stolen bases in as many attempts.
“I’m usually looking for breaking ball counts or if I see a ball in the dirt or if a pitcher has a high leg kick,” Shaver said about when he looks to steal. “Being a catcher, I know if a pitcher gets the ball to the plate quickly, you’re not going to make it. So, I like to steal off the pitcher.”
Shaver has been on base more often than not. He’s hiked his batting average to .550 after starting the season 1-for-7. He’s 10-for-13 with two walks in the Nats’ last four games.
“I would much rather hit with a wood bat than metal,” Shaver said. “It brings out the best hitters, who can square up the ball the best.”
Doing so well opposite college pitchers is giving him plenty of momentum prior to making the jump to the Bears.
“It’s a pretty big confidence booster,” Shaver said. “Hopefully it means I can go in at MSU, do really well and get a lot of playing time.”