The Ames baseball team is off to a strong start thanks in large part to catcher Carter Geffre
A few months in the weight room and working in the batting cage have done wonders for Ames sophomore Carter Geffre.
Geffre has gone from a batter struggling to get a base hit as a freshman to one of the top hitters in the lineup as a sophomore. He's also come on as one of the top pitchers on the team.
“I knew last year that I was pretty good defensively,” Geffre said. “When I got the call I knew I was ready. I just needed to hit and now I’m hitting.”
His rise has played a big role in Ames getting off to an 11-7 start, including a 6-2 record in the CIML-Iowa after going 18-23 overall and 5-16 in the conference a year ago.
“Carter has worked extremely hard,” coach Nick Steenhagen said. “Baseball is what he does year-round. He’s in the weight room, he’s hitting, he’s throwing. He’s done an extremely good job preparing himself for this.”
Geffre entered the season knowing he could step in and contribute defensively at catcher. He went without an error in 92 chances and also threw out two base runners in 2021.
That has continued as he's taken over the starting catcher role after the departure of veteran Brady Burkheimer off last year's team. Entering Friday's 21-4 non-conference loss to Boone, Geffre had only one error in 45 chances and he's already thrown out two runners on the season.
Geffre has done especially well keeping balls in front of him.
“He’s blocking balls pretty good,” Ames senior pitcher Griff Linder said. “He probably only has three passed balls.”
Geffre has also become a calming presence behind the plate for the Ames pitching staff.
"It's that consistency," Steenhagen said. "He's not a very vocal guy, but he's consistent. He's just very steady back there. Being that guy you can depend on is important."
But his bat and his pitching arm have really stood out.
Last year Geffre had two hits in 26 at-bats. Entering Friday's game against Boone, Geffre was hitting .425 with four doubles, two home runs and 16 RBIs.
"He's got a very powerful and fast swing," Steenhagen said. "When he makes solid contact the ball goes a long ways and usually finds a hole. That's why he's at the top of the lineup."
Geffre added an RBI single against Boone. He credited his work ethic for the big rise in productivity.
“I put in a lot of hours this offseason,” Geffre said. “I knew that I was going to do pretty well.”
The combination of his defense and hitting has made Geffre one of the top catchers in the CIML-Iowa.
“It’s been a very good thing for the team,” Ames senior pitcher Ben Amador said. “I’ve known him since we were eight years old. To have him do the same thing he did when we used to play is really good for the team. He brings energy every day.”
As good as his hitting and defense have been, it's Geffre's pitching arm that has really turned heads.
Geffre entered Thursday's doubleheader with Urbandale sporting a 3-0 record. He had the best ERA on the team at 0.44 with 20 strikeouts and only three walks in 16 innings.
“I’ve just been trying to do everything I can and helping any way I can,” Geffre said. “Pitching, catching, hitting — I'm just doing the best I can to help my team win.”
Geffre tossed a one-hitter with seven strikeouts and one walk in a 3-0 victory over Fort Dodge Wednesday. He fired a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and one walk in a 3-1 victory over Mason City June 2.
"That was the biggest surprise," Steenhagen said. "Three starts with almost two no-hitters has been hard to beat."
The sluggish performance against Boone Friday concluded a busy eight-game week for Ames. Though the Little Cyclones struggled against the Toreadors, they are still in great position to contend for the CIML-Iowa title, trailing only Waukee Northwest and Ankeny, who are both 8-2 in the conference.
Ames also has plenty of other goals, including putting itself in position to host a substate game and make a run at state. Geffre is a big reason why and he's looking forward to seeing what the Little Cyclones can do in the coming month and beyond.
“We’ve got a good team,” Geffre said. “We’re going to win a lot of games.”