Carson Lester grew up going to former MTSU baseball coach Steve Peterson’s baseball camps.
He couldn’t say no when current Blue Raider coach Jim McGuire offered him an opportunity to play for his hometown school.
Lester, a Siegel junior, committed to MTSU on Monday, choosing the Blue Raiders over offers from Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Belmont and Lipscomb. Lester, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed pitcher and position player, cannot sign with MTSU until the November 2014 signing period.
“I knew for the most part that this is where I wanted to go,” Lester said. “Now I can focus on trying to win a state championship this spring. I knew MTSU was in my heart.
“This is where I wanted to be.”
Commitments are non-binding for the athletes as well as the school.
“I’ve always cheered for them growing up,” Lester said. “I thought this would be a good place to be. It’s close to home. They are in a great conference in Conference USA, which I think is one of the best in the country.”
Siegel baseball coach Craig Reavis, a former Blue Raider, said Lester will fit in well at MTSU.
“He’s a great kid that takes care of business in the classroom, and works hard,” Reavis said. “He’s really taken big strides over the year.”
Lester was 3-1 on the mound with two saves for Siegel in 2013. He had a 1.66 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. At the plate, he hit .303 with nine doubles and a triple for the Stars. Lester was third on the team in RBIs (18) as a sophomore.
Reavis said Lester could be in the starting rotation this season, or remain as a closer for the Stars’ deep pitching staff.
“He’ll be in the lineup one way or another,” Reavis said. “We also want to get him some looks in the outfield as well. He will be in the middle of our lineup.”
Lester said he was recruited as a two-way player. He hopes to pitch as well as hit as be a designated hitter or corner infielder for MTSU.
“That was one of the reasons why I chose MTSU,” he said. “I had other schools interested that offered, some were as a two-way player, but some were as a one-way player. I wanted a chance to do both.”
Lester said his fastball has been clocked at 88 mph, but said he hopes to add velocity this season and next.
Lester said he did his research this past season. He got a good glimpse of the Blue Raiders, who finished 28-28 in their first year under McGuire and missed the Sun Belt Tournament.
“I went to about 15 games,” Lester said. “I like the environment there. It felt like the right place. I really got a real good look to what it’s like there.”