Baxter junior Carter Nelsen might have been the most improved pitcher in all of Class 1A this past season.
Nelsen was 1-1 in six starts with an earned run average of 5.77 as a sophomore. He struck out 40, walked 18 and hit 10 batters in 30 1/3 innings. Opponents also batted .321 against him.
This season, Nelsen broke out on the mound for the Bolts.
And his drastic improvement led to a 1A third-team all-state honor from the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.
Nelsen’s numbers were twice as good in 2019 than they were in 2018.
In seven starts, Nelsen was 3-1 with an ERA of 1.51. He struck out 90, walked 14 and hit 14 batters in 51 innings. Opponents batted only .206 against him.
Nelsen opened the season with a no-hitter against BCLUW. He struck out 15 in the victory.
Nelsen struck out at least 10 batters in a game six times.
In his second start, the Bolt junior fanned 13 in a complete-game win over Dunkerton.
He pitched twice in relief. He finished off a win over Collins-Maxwell, striking out eight and allowing one hit and no runs in 2 2/3 innings. Nelsen struck out the side in his only inning of work against Tripoli.
Nelsen threw at least 108 pitches in his final remaining starts. Three of those starts ended in no decisions, one ended in his only loss of the year and his final start came in the postseason against Lynnville-Sully.
Against Iowa Star Conference South Division champion North Tama, Nelsen struck out 13 in six innings. He allowed no earned runs on six hits but was forced to leave the game after six frames because of pitch count rules.
The Bolts ended up surrendering the lead in the seventh and lost 3-2.
His only loss came against GMG. He struck out seven and allowed three earned runs in seven innings while tossing 108 pitches.
The Bolts lost to Colo-NESCO in another one of Nelsen’s starts. The game went 10 innings but Nelsen had to be pulled in the seventh inning after 110 pitches. He struck out 10, walked none and surrendered only two earned runs in the no decision.
Baxter lost that game 7-5 in 10 innings.
Before pitching against the Hawks in the postseason, Nelsen took the mound against 2A Colfax-Mingo. He struck out 11 and allowed no earned runs on two hits against the Tigerhawks but was removed after seven innings following another 110-pitch night.
The Bolts lost to Colfax-Mingo 2-1 in eight innings.
Nelsen wasn’t sharp early against Lynnville-Sully during the opening round of the 1A playoffs but shut down the Hawks over the final five innings during a 9-5 win. He fanned 10 in the victory.
It was Baxter’s first-ever postseason win.