East Carter's Rudd signs with Western Kentucky

In this Dec. 5 photo, East Carter's Dalton Rudd signed to play baseball for Western Kentucky.

EAST CARTER The Redbirds are sending a player to Division I.

It feels pretty good, pretty exciting. Ive always wanted to play Division I and to finally get to fulfill that is something Ill always remember, said East Carter senior Dalton Rudd, who recently signed to play baseball for Western Kentucky. Its a lot of weight (off my shoulders). Its hard to explain. Its just really exciting.

Rudd is a three-time All-Black River League and All-Ozark Foothills Conference selection and a two-time All-District selection.

Hes a heck of an athlete, plays the game hard. He can swing it, he can throw it, hes got all the tools. I think, no doubt, if he keeps working hard hell have a lot of success, East Carter baseball coach Ethan Boyer said. He works hard and hes always getting extra swings in the cage, lifting. - Even though hes got basketball after school, hes still putting in that work for baseball.

Rudd chose to not play baseball during the fall season, which includes the OFC Tournament, in order to spend his time going to various baseball showcases. It was there, at a Western Kentucky recruiting camp in September, that he impressed.

The coaches talked to Rudd following the camp and invited him back to another one in order to see him hit, and he was offered a couple weeks later.

It was exciting. After the first time they talked to me I thought they were going to offer me, anyways. But just to hear them offer me something was really exciting, Rudd said. I like the coaches, I like the facilities. They have a really nice facility. Their school just seems like a place Id want to be. Probably the main thing that sold me was definitely the coaches.

Rudd added that while he was filling out his paperwork during his signing ceremony, he was thinking about all the hard work hes put in and the help hes gotten from coaches and family along the way.

Those countless hours in the cages, trying to get to the showcases and trying to keep getting better. All that stuff was going through my head, he said.

Rudd said he intends to play during the spring season. East Carter was 6-18 last spring before having a much-improved fall where they went 11-8.

I hope to come out and have a good season. Thats the main thing, Rudd said. Im not so much worried about what I get, as long as we have a good season and win ballgames, thats the most important thing.

Western Kentucky went 26-29-1 last season with a 16-13-1 record in Conference USA. The Hilltoppers start their 2020 season on Feb. 14.

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