High School baseball: Northwestern Lehigh’s Carter Welch is The Morning Call Pitcher of the Year

High School baseball: Northwestern Lehigh’s Carter Welch is The Morning Call Pitcher of the Year

That’s what a pitcher has to do after a disappointing outing and that’s what Northwestern Lehigh’s Carter Welch intends to do after his Tigers fell to Bethlehem Catholic in the District 11 Class 4A championship in the final game of his scholastic career.

Fortunately for Welch, the good memories far outweighed the bad during the 2021 season and throughout his scholastic baseball career — which featured two years at Northwestern Lehigh, one at Allentown Central Catholic, and one sidelined by the pandemic.

Welch, a hard-throwing lefthander, went 6-3 with a 1.6 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 48 innings this spring. He allowed just 29 hits and 19 walks and opposing hitters batted just .167 against him.

He was instrumental in Northwestern Lehigh’s run to its first Colonial League championship since 2003 and earned his way into being The Morning Call’s Pitcher of the Year for the 2021 high school baseball season.

While he didn’t have his best stuff against Becahi, a truer representation of his season and career came in the district semifinals against CCHS.

In his final home game, Welch allowed just one hit over six innings, walked two, and struck out 12 in a 10-0 victory.

That’s the Welch that Tigers coach Duran Porrino and his teammates will remember.

“Carter is the type of pitcher that a coach only gets once in their career,” Porrino said. “Every time he took the mound, you just expected to win the game. His stats in the league and district semifinals are just incredible. He won both games while only allowing one total run and striking out 21.”

Porrino also pointed out that when the Tigers also needed to beat Catasauqua in its Colonial League finale to wrap up the No. 1 seed for the league tournament he gave the ball to Welch and the hurler responded with a no-hitter and 12 strikeouts.

Welch also batted .420 with a .592 on-base percentage. He had 29 hits and scored 36 runs out of the leadoff slot.

But stats don’t tell his whole story.

“For how great of a pitcher Carter is, he’s an even better person,” Porrino said. “After we lost the district title game, he had tears in his eyes. But he still took the time to take a picture with me and my kids. And as a parent, that is something I will never forget.”

Porrino, who resigned at the end of the season, said he and his family will be talking about Welch for the rest of their lives.

Welch called Porrino a special coach and said he was proud to be part of a special team that finished 19-5.

“Missing the 2020 season stunk for everyone, so just getting back on the field was a great feeling,” he said. “We definitely had something special this year. We had a bunch of talent and our chemistry was amazing. We all got along great. It was just a great team to be a part of.”

It was especially gratifying for Northwestern to win the league title and rout Notre Dame 13-3 in the process after losing to the Crusaders 2-1 in the 2019 finals and 1-0 in the 2017 championship game. Mix in a 4-2 loss to Bangor in 2016 and a 3-2 loss to Saucon Valley in the 2015 title game and the Tigers had a lot of frustration to unleash in a 14-hit extravaganza.

While the headlines that day went to teammate Rafe Perich who was the winning pitcher and hit two home runs, Welch did his part with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI atop the order.

“We had a bunch of one-run and two-run losses in the championship games over the years and this time we knew we had to get the bats going and that’s what we did,” Welch said.

Northwestern also had a 3-2 loss to North Schuylkill in the District 11 4A final in 2019 when the Tigers went 22-5. Welch, then a sophomore, was 10-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 76 strikeouts, and just 11 walks in 61 innings. He also batted .337.

It was in Oct. of 2019 when Welch committed to the University of Delaware, a destination he remains excited about.

But Welch will never forget his Tigers tales and Northwestern Lehigh won’t soon forget one of the best players to ever play at the New Tripoli school.

“I truly believe he will develop into a draftable prospect over the course of the next few years, and I can’t wait to follow his next chapter at Delaware,” Porrino said.

As for Welch, he chalks up every time he goes on the field as a learning experience, including his loss in the district finals and his multiple appearances on the Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup team. He learned a lot and grew as a player and the Northwestern Lehigh program gained in stature as well.

“Coach Porrino was a great coach and Northwestern Lehigh was a great school,” he said. “I was proud to represent them. I just want people to remember me as a great competitor and someone who will not give up.”

Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at


2019: Evan Zwolenik, Northampton

2018: Adam Smith, Parkland

2017: Michael Jenkins, Parkland

2016: John Yocum, Freedom

2015: Connor Higgins, Parkland

2014: Paul Roth, Notre Dame-GP

2013: Tyler Duff, Parkland

2012: Jimmy McCarthy, Liberty

2011: Karl Keglovits, Nazareth

2010: Pat Kregeloh, Pleasant Valley

2009: Andrew Kulp, Parkland

2008: Joe Candelmo, Parkland

2007: Kevin Mihalik, Parkland

2006: Adam Maini, Emmaus

2005: Steve Prazenka, Emmaus

2004: Sean Heimpel, Liberty

2003: Joel Hockman, Easton

2002: None selected

2001: None selected

2000: Christian Fretz, Emmaus

1999: None selected

1998: None selected

1997: John Stefens, Emmaus

1996: Mike Palos, Bethlehem Catholic

1995: None selected

1994: Nolan Fry, Nazareth

Related posts

Mater Dei baseball escapes with win over La Mirada in 11 innings in Boras Classic South

School Sports

Orange County scores and player stats for Tuesday, Nov. 1

School Sports

Fryer on Football: Previews and predictions for Week 6’s top games

School Sports

Leave a Comment