Senior pitcher reflects on his time at CSUB


Senior pitcher Hayden Carter went nine innings strong against Mississippi on May 30 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. That was his eighth complete game of the year. Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

Hayden Carter

Special to The Runner

It’s 5 p.m. on a Sunday evening, and the Orange Lanes charter bus carrying the CSU Bakersfield baseball team is heading back to Bakersfield from Phoenix.

It’s an eight-hour drive, so the estimated time of arrival to CSUB is a little past midnight. It’s just the beginning of a very long journey home.

On the bright side, we have weightlifting at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow morning on top of having classes all day. So, you can say a lot of guys will be a tad bit tired during weights and when I say a lot of guys, I mean the whole team. This part of being on the baseball team at CSUB absolutely sucks.

But, it’s the only bad thing about being a baseball player at CSUB. Then having to wake up early on Monday is not the best thing in the world, but we’re playing baseball at the Division I level.

What more could you want?

Being on a Division I baseball team is a great experience, especially at Bakersfield, because we’re able to play a lot of good teams, and we get to travel to a lot of different places. We played a game during a blizzard when the temperature was single-digits at the University of North Dakota. We saw the border separating the U.S. and Mexico in El Paso, Texas. Although the road trips and the hotels are fun, our whole team still has to stay on top of their schoolwork. The amount of class I’ve missed this season because of traveling and road trips is crazy to think about.

It’s a struggle to find the time and the energy to complete your schoolwork on the road. Most guys want to focus solely on baseball for the weekend, but the reality is, the only way we can keep playing baseball is to maintain our eligibility. The only way to maintain our eligibility is by passing our classes. We don’t spend that much time at our hotel rooms during road trips, so a lot of guys are cramming in their homework at the end of the weekend. Besides that we’ve done good this year. We’ve beaten some really good teams, like Arizona State University, Cal Poly University, CSU Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara.

We are currently 32-21-1 and 17-9-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Being a senior, I’m trying to enjoy every part of the season as it comes to an end. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do after the season in terms of a job or profession, but I do know that I’m going to savor these last couple weeks of playing baseball.

Athletically, I’ve had the best year as a pitcher that I’ve ever had. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs over the past three years, so it’s very gratifying when I’m able to consistently perform well after going through a lot of adversity.

Coach Bill Kernen is always preaching to us that we can’t let our success get us overconfident, and we can’t let our failures get us depressed. There’s always an opportunity for you if you work hard and you battle your tails off. That’s what we’ve tried to do as a team this year, and that’s what we’re going to do down in Mesa, Ariz. at our conference tournament. This baseball program has never had a team make it to the NCAA Tournament. We’d like to change that.