When Carson Shaver signed his National Letter of Intent last year, he signed on to play baseball for Missouri State.
Now one year later, the Ozark native is trading in his Bears hat for a Drury Panthers cap.
“I enjoyed my first year at Missouri State, I learned a lot of new things, but I’m just excited to move on and see what happens,” Carson said.
The former All-Conference catcher made his freshman year a redshirt season at MSU, allowing him to retain that year of eligibility.
Then with the NCAA’s decision to allow an extra year of eligibility for college spring athletes, the Bears roster started getting crowded behind the plate.
“They’re bringing back another catcher for his sixth year, then it looked like they were bringing in a [junior college] catcher as well as a freshman,” Carson said. “So there would’ve been five catchers.”
So Carson considered his options, ultimately moving across town to join Drury, a Division II program.
“It’s always great to allow players to play in town where their parents can see them, [where] friends can see them,” said Drury Head Coach Scott Nasby.
The move will lead to another competition as DU also has a handful of catchers. Nasby says he’s excited to see Carson added to that position battle.
“Guys want to play, so to have the opportunity to play and have a fair shake at it is going to be awesome for him,” Nasby said.
Carson says this is his best decision, but he did consider staying at Missouri State after becoming the first member of his family to reach Division I athletics.
“I obviously love the division one atmosphere and that was part of my thought process, ‘should I go to [junior college] and try to get back to division one?’ But at the end of the day if you go somewhere, it doesn’t matter where you go, if you perform you have as good a chance as anybody to go to the next level,” Carson said.
That’s what every player in the Show-Me Collegiate league hopes to do.
For Carson, it’s been a great way to meet new teammates, as he’s one of roughly 20 Drury Panthers playing in the league.
“Including me now, there are three Drury dudes on my team and all the others are spread out among the other five or six teams,” Carson said. “So I’m meeting them here and there, getting to know everyone.”
He’s also getting to know his new home ballpark in the process, as the Show-Me League plays at US Baseball Park in Ozark. It’s also where Drury plays its home games.