Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
FRANKLIN FURNACE — Over his four-year career at Green High School, Tayte Carver has accomplished a great deal.
He’s led Green to multiple SOC I cross country championships. He scored 28 points to lead the Bobcats to a Division IV district basketball final for the first time in 19 years last winter. And, more recently, he’s consistently been the three-hole hitter for the baseball program as it, under head coach Dan McDavid, has taken home each of the last two SOC I championships.
Yes, Tayte Carver is certainly great — and that’s why the multi-positional student-athlete, who has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his career, will be getting the opportunity to play collegiate baseball at the next level.
The 6-foot do-it-all Carver officially signed with the Shawnee State’s baseball program last week in a signing ceremony that was held at Green High School in front of the very family, friends, and coaches that have helped Carver get to where he is today.
For Carver, taking the next step in his career is an undertaking that he is certainly looking forward to taking on with unmatched vigor.
“I think it will be a great experience,” Carver said. “I’ve had a blast playing here for four years, and I’m excited to start a new chapter at Shawnee State following the end of this season.”
In the cross country realm, Carver helped lead the Bobcats to back-to-back SOC I championships and a fourth-place finish at the OHSAA Division III Southeast District Cross Country Meet in Rio Grande this past season.
Carver finished 67th overall in that district meet, running a 21:29.12. On the basketball court, Carver earned Special Mention all-Southeast District honors in each of his final three seasons, including 2019, where the senior averaged 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and a team-leading 1.8 steals on 55 percent shooting. His 28-point performance in the district semifinals against Trimble, which led Green to its first Division IV district final appearance since 1999, was arguably his best outing. But a 29-point outing against Whiteoak in a Division IV sectional final defeat, among others, will certainly be remembered by the Bobcat faithful as well.
Baseball, however, has been the area where Carver has certainly raised the most eyebrows. The three-hole hitter, in addition to starting in all four seasons of his high school career, has pitched, played in center fielder, and played both middle infield positions for Green. His utility-type style has went a long way toward the Bobcats’ 31-1 mark in SOC I play over its last 32 affairs.
It’s a list of accolades that Carver credits his coaching staff — and his teammates — for producing.
“They’re great,” Carver said. “I wouldn’t want to be around any other coaching staff. They’re awesome and great to us. As for [Green basketball coach Dirk] Hollar and [Randy] Smith, they’re both great coaches as well. I’m just happy to play for them. They’re just awesome. Taking home the two back-to-back SOC I titles in baseball and cross country has been unbelievable. I’m proud of all of the guys that were involved in both titles. They’ve been great, and we’ve all gotten along really well together. It’s just been awesome.”
Beyond Carver’s on-field success, it’s also clear that his accolades, along with the various units that he’s participated for, have been huge for the school off the field of play.
This past fall, a levy for a brand new K-12 school facility, along with additional upgrades that include a new football field that will include a running track for the first time in the school’s history, passed by a 62-38 majority decision. It’s believed by most in the community that Green’s sports successes over the past three years helped galvanize the communities of Franklin Furnace and Haverhill, among others, to get the levy passed.
“I believe that sports have had a huge impact on the school and where it’s at,” Carver said. “Everybody’s really proud of us, and that means a great deal. We have done a great job in every sport that we’ve participated in.”
At Shawnee State, Carver will hope to make a similar impact alongside fellow Green teammates Tanner Kimbler and Bryce Ponn, who made their own decisions to sign with the Bears’ baseball program earlier in the spring.
Shawnee State, under first-year head coach Phil Butler, has already improved its win-loss record with three games left to play in the regular season. SSU is 15-23 in 2019 compared to its 14-30 finish a year prior.
In addition to Kimbler and Ponn, Clay’s Brody Riffe, East’s Drew Lowe, and West’s Marty Knittel all play baseball for the program, which will give Carver an opportunity to play alongside familiar faces.
“I feel more comfortable going there,” Carver said. “I know a lot of the kids, especially Bryce and Tanner. It made it more comfortable for me to go there and play, and it’s pretty cool how we get to play high school and college baseball together.”
While a new opportunity certainly excites one of Green’s best athletes, it’s far from Tayte Carver’s main focus right now. His attention, in fact, is geared entirely towards helping the baseball program win its third straight SOC I championship and leading the Bobcats towards a lengthy tourney run.
“I want to win the SOC I championship and definitely go far in the postseason,” Carver said. “Those are goals that are definitely first and foremost among all of our minds.”