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METRO ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

METRO ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Sioux City North's Carter Pinney 'having a blast' with baseball

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North vs Heelan baseball 061620

North starting pitcher, Carter Pinney, throws during Sioux City North vs Heelan baseball action played Tuesday, June, 16, 2020, at North High School.

SIOUX CITY — Carter Pinney suffered a quadricep injury earlier this school year, but he wasn’t going to let that hinder him from playing baseball.

The baseball field — in the summertime, anyway — is Pinney’s happy place.

Pinney is all smiles as he winds down his time at North High School, and the Stars senior is playing a vital role for his team. He is this week’s Metro Athlete of the Week.

Pinney suffered that injury while doing a workout on the campus track, and even though it has hindered his skillset, sitting out wasn’t an option. He wanted to play baseball.

“I just had to make out the best of the situation and still have fun,” Pinney said. “I have a blast being out there with my teammates and that’s why I still go out there. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

The Morningside basketball signee wanted to play baseball so badly, he was willing to make a position change.

Stars coach Nick Tillo was going to keep Pinney in centerfield, but because of the injury, Tillo moved him from the outfield to first base.

First base was a position Pinney played when he was younger but it had been a while.

Tillo put Pinney there because of his athleticism.

“We needed to put him somewhere and he accepted that role,” Tillo said. “I don’t know as a freshman or sophomore that he would have agreed to play infield, but he wants to play wherever. He’s a natural outfielder, but having him over at first is huge. Putting him over at first, you can throw that ball anywhere, and he’s got a huge range.”

Pinney also said how much he’s having fun with teammates who want to be out on the field just as much as he does.

Even though the win-loss record perhaps isn’t where he and the Stars want it to be, Pinney has enjoyed playing this summer moreso than in past seasons.

“Our guys are playing way harder this summer,” Pinney said. “Compared to last year, we still had the effort last year, but I could tell some players didn’t want to be there last year. For me as a player, that made me think that I didn’t want to be there. This year, everyone is excited to show up and compete.”

Pinney needs the Stars as much as the Stars need him.

Entering Tuesday’s doubleheader against Bishop Heelan, Pinney is the team’s leading hitter and pitcher.

Pinney is North’s only hitter with a .300 batting average or better. He entered Tuesday’s games against the Stars with a .354 average and a .398 on-base percentage.

He has a team-high 29 hits, with nine of those being doubles. Pinney has 15 RBIs. In 82 at-bats, he has struck out just 10 times.

“He’s our No. 1 guy and we can count on him to start us off with something,” Tillo said. “He’s a line-drive hitter. He’s athletic, so he’s never going try to kill it. He’s so consistent with a good approach. I think he’s grown and learned to be that leader. He leads by example. He shows no pressure.”

As a pitcher, Pinney is 2-5 with a 2.84 ERA. He is second on the team in strikeouts with 32 and has limited opponents to a .198 average.

Pinney has allowed 13 earned runs.

Tillo said Pinney’s big key on the mound has been finding the strike zone and taking command of his pitches.

According to the Stars coach, Pinney has gotten at and above 80 miles per hour with his fastball, and that complements his offspeed stuff.

“He can throw that fastball for a strike and he can throw his second pitch for a strike,” Tillo said. “The one big thing is he pounds the zone and in high school, that’s huge. I don’t think there’s been a game where we had to pull him because of pitch count. He’s able to go all seven or however long we need him to.”

His future with M’side

Pinney signed with the Mustangs on May 16, and committed earlier during the basketball season.

“That was a big relief and it was something I needed to do,” said Pinney with a laugh. “I’m excited for Morningside.”

Pinney’s reasoning to sign with the Mustangs: He’s a Sioux City boy, and he wanted to keep his talents here.

Pinney’s parents took him to Allee Gymnasium to watch the Mustangs and it’s a college team Pinney simply grew up to love.

So, getting the chance to put on the maroon uniform and play for a coach like Trent Miller was a no-brainer.

“The ultimate goal is to work my way up to varsity,” Pinney said.

On the basketball court, Pinney scored 12 points per game on 36 percent shooting.

Honorable mentions

Elise Evans-Murphy, Sergeant Bluff-Luton softball: Evans-Murphy had five hits alone in Saturday’s win over Pocahontas.

Holly Duax mug

Duax

Holly Duax, West track and field: The four-time 2022 champion finished 10th at the 100-meter dash at the Nike Nationals in Eugene, Oregon.

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