ROCKINGHAM – Richmond Senior High School senior baseball player Cameron Carraway will sport the colors of Wingate University for the next four years.
Carraway, a right-handed pitcher and first baseman for head coach Ricky Young, verbally committed to play for Wingate, a Division II program, Friday night by way of his Twitter account. With his announcement, he joined fellow Raider teammate Alex Anderson (Johns Hopkins University) as the second of Young’s players to verbally commit this fall.
Having been a part of the varsity team the past two seasons, Carraway is expected to be one of the anchors in the Raiders’ starting rotation this spring. He’s been recruited by the Bulldogs and head coach Jeff Gregory as an infielder and hitter, and his verbal agreement to join the program fulfills a dream that has been two years in the making.
“I’ve wanted to go to Wingate since my sophomore year — it’s my dream school,” Carraway said Tuesday. “We’ve been in contact since they came to watch me play the past two summers, and my friend Bradley Brown (a Wingate baseball alumni and Hamlet native) put me in contact with Coach Gregory.
“We built up a good relationship over the years, and last Wednesday (Nov. 14) I got the offer from Wingate,” he continued. “I knew right then I wanted to commit. It was a long and hard process, but it was all worth it in the end.”
There were other selling points for the senior to attend Wingate, perks he noted that are inside and outside of the baseball program.
“Not only are the coaches awesome, and I’m excited to play for Coach Gregory, but it really felt like home for me,” Carraway explained. “It’s a good school and it has a beautiful campus. I know a lot of people who have gone there and loved it. I’m really excited to spend the next four years there, especially since it’s not too far from home.”
After he received the offer from Coach Gregory, Carraway confided in his parents, Billy and Jennifer Carraway, to help him make his decision. He credited them for being “a big part of the process” in helping him decide, and thanked them for taking him to baseball camps and allowing him to play summer showcase tournaments.
“Once I decided on Wingate, I called Coach Gregory and told him I wanted to be a Bulldog,” Carraway shared. “It’s an awesome feeling and a big relief to get that weight off my shoulders.”
Carraway found himself in the good predicament of having to choose between schools, as he had also received offers from Methodist University (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Pfeiffer University (Misenheimer, N.C.), both Division III programs.
“It was awesome for me to get more than one offer, and I was excited to have options,” Carraway said of the decision-making process. “I really liked all three schools, and I don’t think I could’ve gone wrong with any of them.
“I probably could have started sooner and played more if I went to Methodist or Pfeiffer,” he added. “But Wingate is my dream school — I’m just ready to work hard every day and compete for a starting spot.”
But before he heads 40 miles west to Wingate next fall, Carraway has some business to take of with the Raider baseball program this spring. A season ago, Carraway split time as a first baseman and pitcher for Young, and was a part of the Raiders winning 12-straight games and making a late-season push into the playoffs.
Carraway finished the season batting .154 with six hits, five RBIs and a double. On the mound, he made five appearances, picked up a save and struck out 11 batters in 9.2 innings. While he noted his batting numbers “weren’t the best,” he started gaining momentum late in the season, and carried that over into summer league play for the Richmond Rattlers.
Competing in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League with the Rattlers and several of his Richmond teammates, Carraway split the starting pitching duties and picked up three wins on the hill. He had a 5-RBI night against the Lee County Spinners that helped cap off an 11-game winning streak for the Rattlers. Carraway also played in the Powerade State Games in July with fellow teammate Jake Ransom.
“I hope to continue swinging the bat as well as I did at the end of last season,” Carraway noted. “I want to find my consistency at the plate. I had a good summer (with the Rattlers) and I’m looking to carry that into the spring and playing a big role this year. Our first goal is to win the conference and then make the state playoffs.”
With big expectations set for himself during his senior campaign at Richmond, the forecast looks the same for Carraway when he gets to Wingate. He’s spent a lot of time on campus in the past watching baseball games and attending camps, and will enter his freshman season with a couple of familiar faces around him.
Brown, who became only the fourth player in the South Atlantic Conference’s history to bang 50 career home runs and collect 200 career RBIs, has since graduated, but Carraway will join former Raider teammate Myles Rohleder in the dugout. He’s also familiar with outfielder Justin Guy and right-hander Mac Callari.
“I hope to win a lot of baseball games, earn my spot in the lineup and play a big role for the Bulldogs,” Carraway concluded. “I’m really just looking forward to working hard, being around all the guys and going to work every day.”
Carraway plans to make his official visit to Wingate and meet with Coach Gregory later this spring.