Martinsburg’s Carson Boober wins Lowery Award as W.Va. baseball player of the year

MARTINSBURG — When Carson Boober steps up on the mound to pitch, he could use an antacid.

The Martinsburg senior’s stomach turns to knots before he throws that first ball, and the butterflies are rather evident to him.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular-season game against a team a couple of classes below the AAA Bulldogs or a regional or state tournament game, the nerves are there.

“It’s all amplified,” Boober admitted about the more-important games.

In Boober’s mind, the butterflies are a reflection of his desire to succeed and how important his game is to him and his teammates.

“Anybody who loves the game will have them. We have nerves,” Boober said.

The Martinsburg pitcher knows how to tame them, though, and performed well enough for the Bulldogs to win the first 10 games in which he pitched.

“They keep me on edge to allow me to perform,” Boober said. “It drives me and gives me that feeling to love the sport.

“That’s my goal: to compete.”

He had a bit of a hiccup in his state tournament start against George Washington, but it didn’t take away from the season he had.

His year is being reflected today as he has been selected as the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s winner of the Lowery Award as the state’s Baseball Player of the Year for 2024.

Notably, Boober defeated Lowery’s Jefferson Cougars in a regional game to help the Bulldogs advance to the state tournament as the top seed.

He captains the Class AAA All-State team and was named as the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

“The season he had has a strong correlation to the work he put in during the offseason,” Martinsburg coach Aaron Beiler said. “He definitely is deserving of all of the accolades and has worked super hard because of them.” 

Despite his own nerves, he presented a certain calm to Martinsburg.

“As a pitcher, I think Carson’s biggest attribute is how he competes every day, how he handles himself,” Beiler said. “He never let emotions get the best of him. He was always on an even keel.

“Any time he took the mound, the team felt like we were going to win, no matter what. He engendered that confidence with his team.”

He fell short of matching former Martinsburg and professional pitcher Doug Creek’s school-record of 11 wins.

Boober posted a 10-0 record going into the state tournament, but he resembled a bad clone of himself against George Washington and was rocked for six runs in 2 2/3 innings during a stunning 17-0 defeat.

Martinsburg entered the state semifinals as the top seed with a 33-3 record.

Boober said he thought George Washington hit as well as, if not better, than the Patriots had all season.

“I don’t think Carson’s career is defined by one game,” Beiler said. 

Despite falling short of the goal of winning a state championship, Boober said he was pleased with the season as a whole on how the players related with each other compared with other Martinsburg squads.

“This team clicked more than we have ever been chemistry-wise,” he said. “This definitely played a role in how far we got.

“I never realized how important chemistry is. I’m now a believer in that.”

He credited his teammates and coaches with how his season went.

He batted .362, and on the mound, he had a regular-season earned-run average of 1.29. He fanned 81 batters in 67 1/3 innings as Martinsburg finished the season with a 33-4 record.

Boober called the final game of the season against George Washington the “very worst time of my life.” 

He and his teammates picked their heads up after the game and displayed the camaraderie of which Boober spoke soon after the contest.

“Nothing diminishes what we did the whole season,” Boober said. “We went down there; it wasn’t for nothing.

“We were a long way. We were one of the best teams I played on, offense and defense. They impacted my record. Coaching-wise, too.

“I couldn’t have done it all without them.”

Now he’s going his own way.

Spending his vacation this past week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, he made a decision to continue his career and studies at Potomac State.

“It’s my best bet to get to the next level (Division I); that’s the place to go,” Boober said. “So, I’m ready to practice, grind and get better.”

He doesn’t know if he’ll be used by the Catamounts as a pitcher or an infielder, but he said he’d be content with either one.

“I’ll leave it up to them,” Boober said.

And when he takes the field for the first game, the butterflies will return for him.

The award is sponsored by Wally’s and Wimpy’s Digest.

By Rick Kozlowski/West Virginia Sports Writers Association

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