Little did Carson Herring realize when he legged out a double despite an injured hamstring two Fridays ago that it would be his last hit as a baseball player for Rehobeth High School.
The fact that it was videoed serves a bigger purpose now than simply a special moment that can be looked back on in the coming years.
That play and much more information about Herring’s baseball career can be seen on his Twitter account, which is now used as a primary recruiting outlet for the senior in hopes of earning a college scholarship to play the sport on the next level.
“Social media is playing a big part in my recruiting right now,” Herring said. “Videos on Twitter — that’s my main source right now. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from coaches.”
When it was announced last Thursday by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey that schools in the state would be closed for the remainder of the spring due to the spreading coronavirus, it also meant the end of high school sports careers for hundreds of seniors like Herring.
Though it was a jarring blow, Herring understands the reasoning.
“This is all bigger than me; bigger than baseball,” Herring said. “I’m 100 percent behind those decisions they made for our safety. I’m going to miss high school baseball and miss all the teachers and coaches and administration that have invested a lot in me.
“I really miss the guys on the baseball team. I call them family. It’s different not seeing them every day and not being able to talk to them face-to-face and hang out with them. I do keep up with them through social media and on the phone, but it’s really hard staying away from friends.
“I knew with it being my senior year it was coming to an end fast anyway, but I hadn’t really begun to savor those moments yet.”
Herring is a multi-talented player who can pitch, play first base or in the outfield. Besides being a member of the Rehobeth squad, he played last summer for the renowned East Cobb (Ga.) baseball team and was already on the radar of many college coaches entering his senior season.
“Right now the only way they (coaches) can contact players is by social media or on the phone,” Herring said of college recruiting. “They just can’t do it face-to-face.
“Right now, they’ll usually contact me on Twitter asking for my phone number and coach’s phone number. They’ll call coach (Rehobeth’s John Griffin) and text me a time to talk on the phone.
“There are a lot of players like me who haven’t committed or haven’t signed anywhere yet. Cutting it (season) short really did affect that because you’ve got all of this time that coaches really can’t see you.”
The challenge of being signed has been made more difficult not only because of the shortened prep season, but also because of the ruling due Monday that is expected to allow college athletes of spring sports an extra year of eligibility.
Herring relies on the advice of his father.
Ron Herring was a baseball standout at Cottonwood High during his prep days and then played at Wallace College. He spent a number of years as a high school coach before accepting a job in sales with a local trucking company.
He sat down with his son on Friday and came up with a game plan moving forward.
“The first thing that we did is talk about the fact that we can still get there from here,” the father said. “I’m a salesman by trade, and we’ve actually taken a lot of marketing ideas from work and spun them around to Carson to be able to use social media to stretch out a little bit and it’s been working.”
While Carson was being interviewed for this story on Sunday afternoon, Ron was on the phone concerning a message from a junior college coach in south Florida who had watched some videos of his son.
“There is a backlog of baseball players right now,” Ron said of the expected extra year of eligibility for college players. “We may have to go some places we haven’t considered before.
“There are going to be a lot of baseball players looking for spots. We’ve used Carson’s social media to get out a little further. The last few days we’ve heard from some coaches.”
Carson treasures the guidance.
“God has truly blessed me with the best dad,” Carson said. “He’s been through all of it so he knows what to say. He has a really big influence on how I go about my baseball stuff.”
Carson plans to play for Troy Post 70, an American Legion team, this summer and hopefully sign a college scholarship by late summer. He wants to attend a college that offers a degree in sports medicine or civil engineering.
“I still have to go on all of these visits whenever I’m able to,” Herring said. “I’m just keeping my options open right now.”
Carson leans heavily on his Christian faith during these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nobody really knows what’s going on and everybody’s caught off guard by this,” Herring said. “Just to know that God is never caught off guard and to just know He is always faithful and you can always trust Him is always big and it helps mentally during this time.”