The Carroll twins — ring a bell?
Baseball fans familiar with the Utah baseball program already know the duo and their story. The brothers who grew up playing on the diamond together became high school stars at Taylorsville High School before joining the University of Utah baseball team where they led the team to a Pac-12 title. Then in June 2016, the Atlanta Braves selected Dalton — the right-handed pitcher — in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Dallas, the other Carroll half, did not hear his name. Undrafted, but not brokenhearted, Dallas came back to Utah for his final year to suit up as a Ute.
What many people may not realize about the twins is that this season is the first time ever that Dalton and Dallas are not playing together on the same field. And that is where the story begins.
“It was something that we grew up both wanting,” Dallas said. “Seeing him get drafted and the excitement within him and my family, brought excitement to myself even though it wasn’t me.”
Dallas was able to return to Utah because he had a redshirt year under his belt after breaking his collarbone in the first game of the 2014 season. Including his medical redshirt year, he is now in his fifth season with the Utes, and he has been the starting third baseman for four seasons.
Coming back to play one more year was something Dallas was thankful he had the opportunity to do. He was not angry or disappointed that he would be returning to college ball. In fact, his teammates, who he had been through so much with during his college baseball career, made it easier to come back.
With a new season having begun and not having both brothers in the next-door neighbor numbers, 23 and 24, Dallas said it is very different.
“I’ll see 24 and see he’s pitching today and then be like oh wait, that’s not him,” Dallas said about the number that now is worn by freshman pitcher Chase Bauerle. “It’s definitely a good learning experience. It’s good and bad. It’s bittersweet.”
Not necessarily out to prove something in his final year, he continues to stay motivated.
Dallas is putting up powerful numbers. He is hitting .411 on the season putting him in third place in the Pac-12 in batting average and No. 49 in the country. He leads the league in hits per game at 1.67, and he is averaging one strikeout every 18.3 at bats making him the third-toughest player to strikeout in the conference. He is ranked nationally in both those categories as well.
The numbers do not get to Dallas. The stats may be proof of how his hard work and competitiveness has really helped transform him into an exciting player to watch, but other experiences he has had have helped shape him into an athlete his team can look up to.
The Utes won just 11 conference games between Dallas’s first two years on the team. Dallas was a Ute when the program was at an all-time low, and he believes the freshman who have seen it at its highest, look to those who know what it used to be like to help lead the way.
Whether being a part of a time when the future of Utah baseball did not look too promising and helping to build it up to dealing with injuries and learning to appreciate the game, Dallas has seen a lot and dealt with difficult and rewarding seasons, but all of that propels him forward.
“He’s a leader on the field,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “I’ve always thought Dallas is one of the better players in the league.”
Dallas leads by example and knows that baseball is ultimately a game you have to enjoy playing to be successful and he wants to help his teammates remember that.
“After this year I could be done with baseball,” Dallas said. “It is a game and you don’t know when you’re going to be done with it.”
Dallas is soaking up every minute he has left on a college field as Pac-12 play is under way.
As for Dallas and Dalton, they will always be known as the Carroll twins, but with the two now separated and only Dallas sporting the U on his baseball uniform, he is giving it his all and then some.