Rest was hard to come by during Noah Cameron’s freshman season.
After 10 months of baseball at the Central Arkansas, the Central High School grad is home in St. Joseph for two months — and he’s not allowed to pitch the entire time.
Cameron pitched 94.2 innings at UCA over 14 games, earning himself a 6-2 record with a 2.95 ERA. He earned a Freshman All-American nod Wednesday by Collegiate Baseball and was a Southland Conference second team honoree in his first year.
Cameron said he plans to spend the summer working out and developing flexibility to get ready for the upcoming year in Conway.
This will be one of the first summers Cameron won’t be actively participating in a sport.
He was a multisport athlete in high school, playing football, soccer and basketball along with baseball.
He competed on a summer baseball team, which is how he earned his offer from Central Arkansas.
Cameron went in expecting to relieve for the Bears. He didn’t play the first weekend of the season. During the four-game second weekend, Cameron started in the last game against Illinois State on Feb. 25.
“Butterflies galore — I was very nervous for that first outing,” Cameron said. “All the guys had my back, and they were all going crazy for me and super excited to see what I got. After that first inning, though, I was kind of settled down and ready to give it all I got.”
He pitched 7.1 innings with five strikeouts, allowing zero runs.
“Thankfully, I took my opportunity to do what I can do, and started pitching every single weekend from then on out,” Cameron said.
Cameron became the No. 2 pitcher for the Bears, pitching on Saturdays after Cody Davenport, a four-year senior. Cameron got into a groove by his fourth week starting on the mound.
He pitched a full nine innings against Nicholls State on March 16. He had a career-high 13 strikeouts and one walk, allowing just four hits and zero runs.
“I actually had no idea how many strikeouts I had until after the game when they announced it,” Cameron said. “It was definitely surreal.”
He earned his first Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week award after that outing. By the end of the season, he had two pitcher of the week honorable mentions to go with his All-American and conference second team award.
Jacob Kimble, Cameron’s high school basketball assistant coach, said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.
“Obviously, he’s super talented, and baseball was always his No. 1, but just in basketball, he was a huge part of what we did,” Kimble said. “He always gave his all — he’s just a great kid. It was fun to watch him grow up in the community in St. Joe and it’s awesome to see him have success now in college.”
Cameron said he’s glad to be spending his summer in his hometown. His success changed his original plan of starting for the St. Joseph Mustangs over the summer. Even though he won’t be playing, Cameron said he will still go to the games to support the players he does know from his youth baseball days.
In the meantime, Cameron will be working towards his goals for next year, including a sub-2.50 ERA.
“(Davenport) definitely set the tone — he was at like a 1.50 ERA the whole year until close to the end,” Cameron said. “The hope is to get better every year.”
Kimble said Cameron’s work ethic could get him there.
“He is very naturally talented, but he came by it by hard work as well,” Kimble said. “Natural talent and hard work has really gotten him where he is.”