Sawyer Carroll is seeing his first action at Triple-A this season after spending the last two-plus years in Double-A San Antonio. Carroll, who was born in Stillwater, was a standout at Henryetta High, helping the Knights win the 2003 Class 3A state title before going on to successful careers at Seminole State and then the University of Kentucky. Carroll made his first appearance in Oklahoma City as a pro this week, when his Tucson Padres took on the RedHawks. Carroll had a solid return to Oklahoma, recording hits in each of the series' four games and finishing the series 6 for 16 despite the Padres being swept by the RedHawks.
Had you ever played in this ballpark before?
No, this is the first time. I've seen a lot of games here but this is the first time I've gottten to play here. It's been a lot of fun. Obviously growing up around here, I always wanted to play here and it's pretty special for the family to be able to come out and watch me play. I'm all over the place most of the year.
What's the best thing about playing in Tucson?
It's warm. It's definitely not cold. I'm sure in the heat of summer, it's going to get pretty brutal but in the first of April when we first got there, it was pretty good to see 90 degree temperatures, that's for sure.
You're a Thunder fan?
Yeah, it's fun to be here in Oklahoma City right now. This place has really grown and it's unbelievable with the Thunder in town. I'm excited. I'm a big Thunder fan and hope we can take down the Lakers. I even brought a Thunder shirt to wear under my jersey.
What are your favorite memories of playing in high school?
We won the state championship my junior year. That and playing with my brother, who is two years older than me. I talked to my high school coach the other day and heard they got beat out in the first round. That was a little upsetting but I'm real proud of those kids. I heard they had a great year. It was just awesome when we played in the state tournament. We had a really great year and played well in the state tournament. When you're that age, it's a dream come true.
There haven't been many Oklahomans play college baseball at Kentucky.
No, not before I got there, but then we had a couple. There was another kid from Tulsa the year after I left that was there for two years that I hosted on his recruiting trip (Tulsa Union's Gunner Glad) and then there was another kid from Owasso, Kevin Thulin, who went there. I split my time now between the Tulsa area and in Lexington, Ky.
What's it like being a step away from the big leagues?
We're all out here trying to make that next step up. That's the plan and hopefully it'll work out. There's a lot of things I need to do to get up there but right now I'm just continuing to get better and better and once you get there, you've got to continue to get better. You can't be satisfied with just getting there because they'll send you back in a hurry, that's for sure.