In a time when it seems large school athletes have to specialize in a sport to take their game to the next level, Kyle Carnahan excelled as a four-sport athlete in his time at Marshalltown High School before earning a scholarship to play the game he loves.
Now a Washburn University freshman playing Division II baseball for the Ichabods, Carnahan can tack on one last high school honor from his glory days as a Bobcat - 2012 Times-Republican All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.
Carnahan left his name dotted all over the MHS baseball recordbooks during his three-year career, supporting Bobcat head coach Steve Hanson's statement made back in July.
T-R PHOTO AND ILLUSTRATION BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown High School graduate Kyle Carnahan wore four different uniforms during his prep athletic career, but he found the best fit with baseball. The Times-Republican 2012 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year has moved on to play at Washburn University, an NCAA Division II school in Topeka, Kan.
"As a baseball player, he's the best guy we've had here for a decade," said Hanson. "He's the closest thing to a five-tool player that we've had for a decade. And the thing that helps him, in addition to his athleticism, is his competitiveness, which all the good ones have."
Carnahan graduated as a career .394 hitter - eighth-best all-time at Marshalltown - with a 15-5 pitching record in the tradition- and talent-rich CIML Iowa Conference. His senior season warranted all-state, all-district and all-conference honors after he batted .457 with 14 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 22 RBIs and 36-for-43 base-stealing efficiency. On the mound he was 7-4 with a 3.61 earned run average and 55 strikeouts in 62 innings.
In three seasons, Carnahan's numbers improved each step along the way as his role increased around the diamond for MHS. He pitched 23 innings as a sophomore, 39 as a junior and 62 as a senior. He batted .337 in 2010, .376 last summer and his .457 average in 2012 was seventh-best in all of Class 4A.
Times-Republican 2012 All-Area Baseball Team
Player of the Year - Kyle Carnahan, sr., Marshalltown
Coach of the Year - Dan Kopriva, North Tama
Pitcher - John Bloom, sr., East Marshall; Austyn Smith, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Jared Riemenschneider, jr., West Marshall.
Catcher - Noah Bearden, so., South Tama.
Infield - Brady Billerbeck, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Parker Bolt, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Cole Thompson, sr., BCLUW; Kolton Smith, so., South Tama.
Outfield - Alex Thompson, sr., Marshalltown; Bennett Mann, sr., Marshalltown; Jacob Clark, sr., South Tama; Josh Wilson, jr., East Marshall; Brandon Lolwing, sr., GMG.
Utility - Dakotah Wolken, sr., East Marshall; Jacob Wrage, jr., North Tama; Dalton Hulme, jr., North Tama.
Blake Baker, sr., South Hardin; Kyle Barloon, sr., GMG; Brent Billerbeck, jr., North Tama; Chad Dolphin, sr., BCLUW; Tyler Harken, sr., Grundy Center; Blake Judkins, jr., Marshalltown; Ryan Mitchell, jr., Marshalltown; Brandyn Niemeyer, jr., Colo-NESCO; Brian Seda, sr., North Tama; Robert Sharp, sr., BCLUW; Nolan Sinning, so., West Marshall.
"He has progressed, and that's sometimes difficult for a four-sport guy because you can't ever devote a whole lot of time to it," Hanson said. "But our belief has been and will always be that you should play four sports because it's going to make you a better competitor."
In terms of career numbers, Carnahan graduated ranking in hits (seventh, 130), triples (second, 7), runs scored (11th, 95), stolen bases (ninth, 72), batting average (eighth, .394) and pitching victories (15th, 15).
He played every infield position except second base this past summer and made only six errors in 140 total chances (.964).
And now Carnahan is playing at the NCAA Division II level after picking up his glove and ball only when summer came around during high school. He was a third-team all-state defensive back on the football team, a two-time all-conference honorable mention basketball player and a state track qualifier, so specializing never really was a legitimate option for him.
His former head baseball coach is curious to see what Carnahan can do now that it's his only sport.
"I think his ceiling is quite high because he hasn't really had an opportuity to just play baseball and to focus on baseball," Hanson said.
Carnahan is one of a number of former area baseball players now devoted to baseball in college. East Marshall's senior 1-2 pitching duo of Dakotah Wolken and John Bloom have both moved on to college programs - Wolken at Central College and Bloom at Marshalltown Community College.
Wolken and Bloom are both All-Area baseball selections for the second time in their careers after leading the Mustangs to within two wins of the state baseball tournament. The potent pair were a combined 14-2 on the mound with two of the NICL West Division's best ERA's. Wolken was 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings, while Bloom was 6-2 with a 1.11 ERA and a league-best 80 strikeouts in just 50 1/3 innings.
Wolken earned the NICL West's Most Outstanding Player honor, and he and Bloom were the first Mustangs invited to play in the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association's All-Star Senior Series since 1997.
Both of Gladbrook-Reinbeck's returning All-Area selections - Parker Bolt and Brady Billerbeck - have advanced their baseball careers to the next level, too. Bolt is at Wartburg and Billerbeck at Iowa Central.
Bolt, a shortstop, was a four-time first-team all-NICL West selection, three times unanimous. The first baseman Billerbeck batted .606 in conference play this past summer and hit a pair of postseason home runs for the Rebels. Both are three-time All-Area picks.
Other returners to the Times-Republican's All-Area squad are West Marshall junior Jared Riemenschneider, BCLUW senior Cole Thompson, and Marshalltown senior Alex Thompson.
Riemenschneider finished fifth in the NICL West with a .426 batting average, was third in stolen bases with 22, fourth in innings pitched (50 1/3) and fifth in wins (5).
Cole Thompson was among the conference's top hitters every season he played, earning all-NICL West honors three times. This summer he batted .421 and was 15-for-15 in stolen bases, and also went 5-3 on the mound with a 2.68 ERA.
Alex Thompson finished 13th in Bobcat history with 63 career stolen bases after swiping 26 this year. Now playing at Kirkwood CC, Thompson was a second-team all-CIML Iowa outfielder after roaming center as well as any Bobcat. He had just one error in 98 chances this summer.
Up from the honorable mention list from last year are MHS senior right fielder Bennett Mann, BCLUW senior third baseman Robert Sharp, North Tama junior utility Jacob Wrage and South Tama sophomore shortstop Kolton Smith.
Newcomers to the All-Area squad are Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior pitcher Austyn Smith, South Tama sophomore catcher Noah Bearden, East Marshall junior center fielder Josh Wilson, GMG senior center fielder Brandon Lolwing, and North Tama junior center fielder Dalton Hulme.