While Carter Yagi watched his older brother Tyler go straight to the University of Utah to play baseball, his own route to Division I baseball has taken a more circuitous path.
But apparently he’s made it, and that’s what matters to Carter Yagi — and the Southern Idaho Golden Eagles.
Yagi is finishing his sophomore season with Southern Idaho and committed to play at Kansas State next season.
“A few things attracted him to that situation,” Southern Idaho coach Boomer Walker said. “One, they recruited the heck out of him. And the Big 12 Conference has a great deal to do with it, too.”
Of course, Kansas State and others had reason to be attracted to Yagi, a former standout at Cottonwood High. Yagi has been swinging a scorching hot bat in his last season at the two-year college.
He is sporting a .448 average and has scored a team-high 28 runs while playing shortstop for the Eagles entering the week this season. His hitting is done with a wood bat, making it all that much harder to get cheap hits off good pitching. But Yagi actually isn’t that surprised about his recent success.
“Honestly, I did expect it this year,” Yagi said. “I’m a pretty hard worker, and Skip Walker [Southern Idaho’s hitting coach] worked on my hitting. He knows what he’s doing.”
“He’s killing it,” Walker said. “You’re a good player at .300 [batting average]. He’s got an unbelievable work ethic — second to none — and is really, really competitive.”
Finding D-I schools for his players once their two years are up is the name of the game for Walker and Southern Idaho.
“That’s our No. 1 goal,” he said. “You want to give these kids the opportunity.”
Once the current season is over, Yagi will move to the Midwest and get his feet wet in the area by playing summer ball in Missouri. Then it’s off to be a Kansas State Wildcat, although the move might cause complications for his parents.
Carter’s brother Tyler, who went to Skyline High, is in his junior year with the Utes. The geography favors the older sibling next season, when both of the Yagi boys are playing.
“It’s going to be hard for my parents to come out to Oklahoma, Texas, to see games,” Carter Yagi said. “They’ll probably stay out here, especially with it being his senior season.”