SCARBOROUGH – High school has gone by far too fast for Heather Carrier. As she approaches the final season of her four-year softball career, she thinks back to her freshman year.

Playing first base for Scarborough High, she was fortunate to be on a team that won a Class A state title.

“I can remember after the last pitch of that game running and hugging (catcher) Megan Myers,” said Carrier. “High school definitely went by fast.”

Not fast enough for Scarborough’s opponents. Carrier, now a senior in her third year of catching, is attempting to complete a rare Triple Crown of championships this school year. She’s already played on Class A title teams in field hockey (midfielder) and basketball (point guard) — each the school’s first championship in the sport.

Add to that the softball title Scarborough won last June and Carrier will be playing for a fifth state championship.

“It would be cool to win one in each sport I play,” said Carrier. “I’m kind of hoping we can do it. It’s definitely been rewarding, especially being on the field hockey and basketball teams. I never thought it would actually happen.”

Carrier, 17, is highly respected by her teammates and opponents. She calls her own pitches, is an exceptional defensive catcher and a gap hitter.

“She’s the ultimate catcher,” said Gorham Coach Pete Walker. “You look at what she’s done for them. If you don’t have an All-State catcher behind the plate, your All-State pitchers don’t look as good.

“She’s confident. She’s smart. She’s the brains behind that staff. She senses when you’re going to try to bunt, when you’re going to try to steal, when you’re going to try to run. She’s not graduating fast enough for me.”

Tom Griffin, in his 21st season as Scarborough coach, knew he had something special when Carrier came up as a freshman. But he had an experienced catcher in Myers, so he moved Carrier to first.

“We wanted to get her bat in the lineup,” he said. “And Heather’s never been afraid to put herself in a challenging situation.”

While her teammates talk about Carrier’s maturity over the years — she’s much more vocal and confident in herself — Griffin said one thing never has changed: “She’s a happy kid. She’s always energetic and is such a positive influence on everyone.”

Liz Winslow, an assistant coach at Scarborough, called Carrier “a unique kid. If she’s having a bad day, you can’t tell. She will never bring anyone down. And she proves herself every day, not only with her attitude but with her ability. She’s improved her catching over the years and she makes our pitchers different pitchers.”

Senior Melissa Dellatorre has been pitching to Carrier since Little League. The two also played on the R.C. Moore team and on several travel teams.

“She really knows what to call,” said Dellatorre, an All-State selection as a sophomore. “And she stops everything. No matter where I throw it, she’s going to get it.”

Griffin always has allowed Carrier to call her own pitches. “Part of it is the trust I have in her,” he said.

“Part of it is that she had great training from Megan. But the other thing is that calling pitches is part of the enjoyment of being a catcher.”

Dellatorre and sophomore Mo Hannan, an All-State selection as a freshman, seldom shake off any pitches Carrier calls.

“I just follow her and she’s led me the right way,” said Hannan. “She’s just a great leader for us. When things get a little out of hand, she takes everyone aside and tells them to calm down.”

Hannan saw that side of Carrier in both field hockey and basketball, where she wasn’t necessarily the best player on the team but certainly one who had attention when she spoke. Griffin thinks Carrier’s willingness to be a role player has been instrumental in her success.

“She knows how to be a great teammate,” said Griffin. “She knows how to be a role player. She understands what she needs to do in every game and she works hard to do it.”

Much of that probably has to do with her father, Mark, who caught Billy Swift at South Portland High. The two have worked on the craft of catching since she was in Little League. “We talk about the whole package,” said Mark Carrier. “Not just catching the ball but working with the pitcher, reading the batters, calling pitches and knowing who’s coming up to the plate, how to handle individual batters. Some can hurt you, some can’t.”

Carrier, who will attend Curry College in Milton, Mass., to study nursing, said, “He’s given me a lot of advice, a lot of tips. They’re all about the little things of catching.”

And she also inherited another trait from her father, who played in four state championship games in his high school career.

“I hate to lose,” she said. “No matter what sport I’m playing. They’re all different sports,but I approach them the same. I want to win and I’ll do whatever I have to do to help us win.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]