The North Carolina-based National Junior College Athletic Association recently named Bridgewater's Evan O'Toole a second-team Division I All-American.
O'Toole, a 19-year-old right-handed starting pitcher, just wrapped up his freshman year with the Iowa Western Community College Reivers.
He appeared in 11 games for the Reivers in 2021, pitching 55 innings, allowing just 39 hits, walking 17, striking out 51 batters and posting a 1.31 earned run average (ERA). He also posted a 9-0 win-loss record.
Reached by phone, O'Toole told LighthouseNOW he found out about the All-American honours via social media.
"There are a lot of great players in the league, I was just honoured," said O'Toole, who is now logging innings for the Minnesota-based Rochester Honkers of the Northwoods summer collegiate league before he heads back to school in a few months.
"I thought the season went really well," despite coming up short in the playoffs, he added. "Personally I was happy with how I did and I learned a lot throughout the year." The Reivers boasted a 50-win, 10-loss regular season.
"I think it's a good hitting league," said O'Toole, who's key pitch is a sinker but regularly pumps four-seam fastballs at a velocity between 91 and 95 mph. "It's really competitive and just a good league all around."
Standing 6'4" and weighing 200 lbs, he credits his success to learning valuable mental and physical conditioning on-and-off the diamond to help him prepare for starts. His pitching repertoire also includes a change-up and slider coming from his high three-quarter delivery.
Major League Baseball scouts do comb the league for talent and the All-American accolades are likely to help him get noticed when the amateur draft takes place next month. O'Toole said he has had conversations with scouts in the past but is focusing on his craft more than on what may or may not happen on a professional level.
O'Toole is on scholarship at Iowa Western, studying a two-year program that could lead to work in sports sciences if a career on the mound is not in the cards.
He spent his early amateur baseball in Bridgewater before more competitive opportunities in the Halifax area and, later, at Alberta's Vauxhall Academy of Baseball arose.
Since joining the Honkers and at the time of this writing, O'Toole had three appearances: 11 innings pitched, 15 strikeouts and a 4.09 ERA.
His parents are Susan Cross of Bridgewater and Eddie O'Toole of Colchester County. He has an older brother, Ryan and younger sister Jade, both of whom are in the Bridgewater area.
Want to watch O'Toole pitch? Northwoods League games are live-streamed for free. Follow the links at https://northwoodsleague.com on the internet to find viewing opportunities.