As people, they’re the complete package. They’re good baseball players, good students, good leaders, two of the best kids I’ve ever coached. —Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg
SALT LAKE CITY — When they finished their careers at Taylorsville High School in 2012, Dalton and Dallas Carroll were the two best baseball players in the state but didn’t have a lot of options for college.
BYU and Salt Lake Community College showed some interest, but Utah coach Bill Kinneberg was eager to sign the Carroll twins to his program, which had just finished in last place in its initial Pac-12 season.
Fast-forward four years and just look where the Utes are now — on top of the Pac-12 standings. Certainly a big reason for that turnaround has been the play and just the presence of the Carroll twins on the Ute roster.
Thanks to two wins over Stanford over the weekend, the Utes emerged all alone in first place in the Pac-12, an astounding accomplishment for a program that finished in last place — and by a long ways – each of the past four seasons.
Dallas, who was the 5A MVP as a senior at Taylorsville in 2012, is the Utes’ third baseman, hitting .317 and leading the team with six home runs and second in RBIs with 25. Dalton, who would have been the likely prep MVP if not for his brother, is a starting pitcher for the Utes with a 5-6 record and 39 strikeouts.
Kinneberg called the Carrolls “huge” recruits for the Utes four years ago and said his team got in early on the recruiting before others discovered them.
“We were fortunate to get them,” Kinneberg said. “We ultimately signed them because they were the two best players in the state. They were champions and you knew right off the bat they were going to make an impact.”
It helped the Utes that the Carrolls didn’t go to out-of-state showcases and weren’t exposed as much as some prep stars are. But the twins were happy to come to Utah where they had a chance to compete early and play in front of family and friends.
They’ve been doing that their whole lives since growing up in Utah’s baseball mecca in Taylorsville under the tutelage of people like the legendary Edo Rottini.
As identical twins, Dallas and Dalton have usually been hard to tell apart, but now it’s easy if you know that Dallas is sporting a trimmed beard, while Dalton is clean-shaven.
Their personalities are similar, although Dalton, who is two minutes older, said “I would say I’m more outgoing than him.”
Dallas counters with, “I’m better looking,” to which Dalton replies, “I don’t know about that. Ask anyone — I think I’m the better-looking one.”
The two brothers clearly have affection for each other and do almost everything together right down to the classes they’ve taken at the U. as economics majors.
“We’re really close, we’ll say things where people will say, ‘oh it’s that twin telepathy,’” says Dallas. “It’s more that kind of bond we have, growing up together and being right by each other and having that person to play catch with.”
“We grew up playing together every day, so being able to go to college together and playing on the same team was huge,” adds Dalton. “We both decided to come here and play together. Not many people can say they have a brother making plays for them.”
Kinneberg, who is in his 13th year as Ute coach, can’t say enough about the Carroll twins.
“As individuals you can’t find better kids,” he gushes. “It starts with their character. I don’t think you’ll find anybody who doesn’t respect them. As people, they’re the complete package. They’re good baseball players, good students, good leaders, two of the best kids I’ve ever coached.”
Teammates are equally appreciative of the Carrolls and what they bring to the team. Just ask senior shortstop Cody Scaggari, who has played with the twins for four years.
“They’re great, full of energy and they love the game,” he said. “They’re great teammates, very likable. They do everything to win. They’re great players, great leaders, just great guys.”
Kinneberg believes both of the Carroll brothers have good chances to be drafted by major league franchises after this year.
While Dalton is a senior, Dallas is just a junior in eligibility since he missed his second season with a broken collarbone. But he is eligible for the draft and is considering a pro career after the season.
“It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do,” Dallas said. “I’m going to focus on what I can do to win with the Utes and make our postseason goal and after that, whatever happens, happens.”
“That would be huge, if that’s a possibility after this year,” says Dalton of playing professional baseball. “It’s something I would love to do and pursue and make a career out of it.”
UTE NOTES: The Utes will play BYU Tuesday night at Smith’s Ballpark (7 p.m.) in Salt Lake. It is the third meeting between the two rivals this season after BYU won the first two games. Next up in the Pac-12 for Utah is a three-game set at California this weekend. Then they will finish the season with three games against Washington the following weekend. The Pac-12 champion gets an automatic invite to the NCAAs, and Utah is in first at 15-9, one game ahead of Washington.