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Catching up with Kasey Carr

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Former LHS softball standout was named to the Big South All-Freshman Team

By Melanie Schumilas

Liberty alumna Kasey Carr continued her softball success at Longwood University, but not at the position she expected.

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After pitching most of her high school career with dashes of playing short stop, Carr spent the majority of her freshmen season at first base.   

“I started at short stop at the beginning of the season but then I got put at first base after the first baseman broke her foot,” explained Carr. “I’ve never played first before so moving over there was different. You’re closer to the batters and you’re in every single play... It’s a lot more responsibility.”   

Despite shifting to a brand new position, Carr’s stats depict a player that’s unfazed. She had an impressive .956 fielding over 51 games, in which she started 50 of them.   

Impressive statistics aren’t new to Carr; she was a standout high school player.

Carr, a four-time All-Conference/All-District and three time All-Region softball team member, was a menace with the bat her final two high school seasons with a batting average above .490. She also stole 36 bases and knocked in 44 RBI in her final two years. Her stellar play landed her in the VHSCA All-Star game her senior season.   

Prior to an outstanding senior campaign, Carr began speaking to Longwood’s head softball coach, Kathy Riley, about joining the Lancers.   

“It was a very long process,” said Carr. “She gave me a long list of things I had to do, such as you have to be able to run the bases in this amount of time and you have to have this exit bat speed. It was a lot of different things so that she could make sure I was 100 percent committed to her. I did all those things on her list.”   

Carr said that Longwood was the only school she was seriously considering due to a couple of factors. The main one was Carr fell in love with the campus during numerous visits. She described Longwood as “close enough to home but far enough so that I can get away” and said Farmville had a similar feel to Bedford.   

The similarities between Longwood and home seemingly ended there, as Carr had to make several adjustments to get use to her new life as a college freshman.   

“I had expectations but when I got there it was a lot different than I thought,” said Carr. “Having to wake up every morning and managing school with softball was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had to live off a schedule, something I had never done before, that required me to be somewhere every single second of the day. I also had never trained the way you have to train to be a Division I athlete, and it was more difficult than I thought.”   

Carr also said the pressure and stress of continuing the tradition of the Lancers success was also difficult to deal with, especially when the 2016-17 season didn’t get off to the best start.   

“When our season started we felt that pressure to live up to the past and we were all trying way too hard,” said Carr. “We knew we were trying to hard and we knew we had a problem. We sat down multiple times throughout the season to try to work it out.”   

The Lancers found themselves in a 16-25 hole mid-April that included two conference series losses to Campbell and Winthrop. With the season looking dire, the girls finally found their breakthrough moment.   

“Finally, we were told to just play for fun and whatever happens is going to happen anyways,” said Carr. “It was the series we played Charleston Southern where we just left it all out on the field and we won all three games. From there, something just clicked... We just played good softball.”   

The Lancers turned things around and went 12-2 en route to winning  the program’s third consecutive Big South Championship.   

“It was kind of crazy because at one point we thought we wouldn’t even make the conference tournament,” said Carr. “We came in as the underdogs and we knew we had nothing to lose because everyone was already underestimating us after we had lost to teams we never lost to before. We came in and showed them that we just had a rough time, but it didn’t mean we didn’t know what we were doing or that we didn’t know how to play softball.”   

After winning the Big South Championship, Carr and the Lancers travelled to Knoxville, Tn., to play in the NCAA Knoxville Regional.   

They faced No. 8 Tennessee in the first round and despite losing 5-0, Carr said the experience was incredible.   

“When I was growing up I would say: ‘I’m going to Tennessee to play softball,’” said Carr. “Being able to play them was a dream. My entire life I watched them play softball on TV, but being there and seeing all the fans... it was crazy.”   

But don’t get confused, Carr still says her favorite freshman moment was winning the Big South Championship.   

“Nothing beats that,” said Carr with a grin.   

Carr was also proud of being named to the Big South All-Freshman Team and being nominated for Female Freshman Athlete of the Year at the annual Longwood Student Athlete Awards Banquet.   

Carr will have another crack at a Big South Championship her sophomore year, but for now, she’s back in Bedford for the summer preparing for the preseason. Carr said she isn’t sure what position she’ll be playing, since the Lancer’s original first basemen will be returning from her injury.  But instead of worrying about where in the field she’ll be next year, Carr is focused on her individual and team goals.   

“I want to be able to hit better than I did this year,” said Carr in regards to how she’s bettering herself for the upcoming season. “And my team goal is to win another Big South Championship. I also want to win a regional championship because I know we can.”   

After finishing her roller-coaster freshman season, Carr had one piece of advice to give to the incoming freshmen.   

“Work as hard as you can in the preseason because it pays off,” said Carr. “We wouldn’t have been where we were in the end if we didn’t work as hard. Give it all you got, even if you pretty much die, which is what we did everyday, because it gets rewarded in the end.”