Stone grad­u­ate Pinkney signs with UNC-Char­lotte for base­ball

For­mer Stone pitcher Pinkney signs early to D-I UNC-Char­lotte

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Com­ing out of high school, the re­cruit­ing process was not easy for Car­son Pinkney, who fin­ished his se­nior sea- son in 2014 at Thomas Stone High School with a 6-1 record to go along with a 1.14 ERA and 39 strike­outs as a start­ing pitcher.

After re­ceiv­ing no NCAA Divi­sion I or II schol­ar­ship of­fers, Pink- ney de­cided to take a dif­fer­ent route: ju­nior col- lege.

Turns out that was the best de­ci­sion for Pinkney, now a red­shirt sopho­more at NJCAA Ca­tons- ville Com­mu­nity Col­lege, who re­cently inked his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to Divi­sion I out­fit Univer- sity of North Carolina at Char­lotte to con­tinue his base­ball ca­reer.

“It truly felt like a dream come true to sign to a school that’s in the top-5 best con­fer­ences in the coun­try,” said Pinkney, re­fer­ring to the 49ers pro­gram which com­petes in Con­fer­ence USA. “I’ve al- ways wanted to sign to a big school so all the hard work has hon­estly paid off and also just be­gin­ning again.”

Pinkney chose UNC-Char­lotte over Divi- sion I out­fits, Florida Gulf Coast Uni­ver­sity, Tow­son Uni­ver­sity and Divi­sion II’s St. Thomas Aquinas Col­lege (N.Y.).

“I chose UNC-Char­lotte be­cause I felt like I was go­ing to reach my goal there and that is be­com­ing a bet­ter stu­dent, player and all-around bet­ter per­son,” said Pinkney, who was an All-County first-team and All-SMAC se­cond-team se­lec­tion dur­ing his se­nior year with Stone. “Went out- side the city it­self and it just has that big school feel that I al­ways wanted. The base­ball pro­gram has a very pro­fes­sional vibe.”

The for­mer Stone ace, who took his of­fi­cial visit to UNC-Char­lotte on the weekend of Oct. 13, felt like it was the per­fect fit.

“I get to learn from a great pitch­ing coach, in Coach [Shohn] Doty, who re­cruited and coached [Detroit Tigers pitcher] Justin Ver­lan­der at Old Do­min­ion Uni­ver­sity,” Pinkney said, who will ma­jor in com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mi­nor in Span­ish. “And UNCC also plays in a sig­nif­i­cantly strong con­fer­ence. I loved the coach­ing staff, they treated me with an in­cred­i­ble amount of hos­pi­tal­ity, put me in a nice ho­tel and took care of me. They have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of the game.”

Pinkney started his ju­nior col­lege ca­reer at Florence-Dar­ling­ton Tech­ni­cal Col­lege (S.C.)

where he sat out in 2015, but ex­ploded onto the scene the fol­low­ing year as a red­shirt fresh­man as the team’s No. 1 ace in the start­ing ro­ta­tion.

Un­der the direc­tion of Florence-Dar­ling­ton pitch­ing coach Kyle Ward, the right-handed Pinkney struck out 63 bat­ters on the sea­son in 62 in­nings pitched on the sea­son, in­clud­ing three wins and one shutout.

“That was great to see Car­son go D-I,” Ward said. “From Day 1 he worked hard and I worked with him ev­ery day for two years. He went from throw­ing in the mid-80s in high school to now throw- ing in the low 90s. He al- ways asked ques­tions and wanted to get bet­ter.”

After com­mit­ting to Tow­son this past sum- mer, Pinkney left Flor- ence-Dar­ling­ton Tech, but de­com­mit­ted be­cause of credit trans­fer is­sues and de­cided to go to Ca- tonsville.

Pinkney par­tic­i­pated in fall ball with Ca­tonsville and is ex­cited to be play in the up­com­ing spring.

“Hav­ing col­lege ex­peri- ence will gen­er­ally help me, but go­ing to a big school like UNCC might over­whelm me at first,” he said. “But I think I’ll be able to ad­just once I get into the rou­tine.”

About tak­ing the ju­nior col­lege path, Pinkney said, “It helped me tremen­dously. I was a lit­tle up­set at first when I red­shirted, but hon­estly it was the best thing for me. I came into JUCO and was only throw­ing 83, 84 mph and now I’m at 92 mph. JUCO def­i­nitely puts things into per­spec- tives and makes you want to work harder.”

Pinkney, who is the only child, men­tioned who has been in­stru­men­tal dur­ing his base­ball jour­ney.

“My mom [Jackie Pinkney] and dad [Marvin Pinkney] have pro­vided great sup­port and I’m thank­ful for them,” said Pinkney. “My [late] cousin CP is some­one that I looked up too and after he passed away I al­ways pray to him be­fore ev­ery start. Coach Ward has also helped me non­stop that last cou­ple of years.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

2014 Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate Car­son Pinkney, pic­tured here dur­ing a fall league base­ball game at Ca­tonsville Com­mu­nity Col­lege, re­cently signed to his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play base­ball at NCAA Divi­sion I Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina at Char­lotte.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

2014 Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate Car­son Pinkney, pic­tured here as a red­shirt fresh­man at Florence-Dar­ling­ton Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in South Carolina, re­cently signed to his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play base­ball at NCAA Divi­sion I Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina at Char­lotte.

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