SCARBOROUGH – Her season, and career, ended two victories shy of how it was supposed to end. Senior catcher Heather Carrier did not end her Scarborough High softball career with a third Class A state championship.
Instead, the Red Storm lost to eventual state champ South Portland in the Western Class A finals. And while the ending was disappointing, Carrier was anything but upset.
“It was the greatest run and I had the best career ever,” said Carrier, Scarborough’s starting catcher the last three years. “I already miss it. I’m always going to remember the teammates, our friendships and the coaches I played for.”
And they should remember Carrier for a long time. In a sport that is still dominated by great pitching, Carrier was our choice for the Maine Sunday Telegram softball Most Valuable Player this spring.
She batted .519 for the Red Storm this season, hitting six home runs, four doubles and a triple. She drove in 25 runs and scored 26. She also stole six bases.
More important, she called all the pitches for a talented Scarborough pitching staff. Tom Griffin, who played Carrier at first as a freshman because he already had an all-state catcher and knew she deserved to play on the varsity, gave her those duties her sophomore season.
“Her leadership ability was outstanding,” said Griffin. “She’s a great example of a kid whose value goes beyond the statistics. She was someone the kids could rally around. And the way she dealt with the pitchers, keeping them calm and confident, was amazing.”
It helped that her father, Mark, was a catcher in high school at South Portland, handling the pitches of a kid named Billy Swift, who went on to UMaine and major league fame.
“Yeah, he taught me some things about catching,” said Heather Carrier, who will attend Curry College in Milton, Mass. “He loves the game and taught me how to call a game and what to look for in a batter, where she’s standing, how she’s standing. He helped me because he knows the game. And when we watch games on television, he always points out little things.”
Teammates and opposing coaches and players had deep respect for Carrier. So did umpires, who are supposed to be impartial.
Dennis Crowe, one of the better softball umpires in the area, said he will remember how she handled defeat — with a smile.
“She was a key player on that team,” he said. “I’ve always said that the catcher is such a key individual in how the team reacts and she clearly set the tone for that team on the field. She was an obvious leader.”
Carrier was coming off a tough junior year offensively and was determined to hit better this spring.
She worked hard all winter and it paid off. “Last year I was down on myself and I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I just wanted to end on a good note.”
She will play softball at Curry, though she may move to the outfield.
“That’s something I could do, we’ll see,” she said. “Catching, you’re in the game, you’re always touching the ball, you’re a huge part of the team.
“There have been times I’ve wanted to change, to the outfield, but catching is where I belong.”