By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary senior Hannah Carr had to step back from the game she started playing as a 6-year-old to realize just how much she loved it.
Two years ago, Carr stopped playing softball in the summer. It was expensive and she was never going to play in college. So what was the point?
“I think it was just playing so much because you play year-round basically,” Carr said.
“If you’re not playing, you’re practicing. I started getting injured. I had to sit out and it wasn’t fun.”
Carr even thought about not coming out for her senior year at McNary. But wanting one more season with her teammates, Carr decided to give it a try.
She knew it was the right decision as soon as she stepped back on the field.
“It was just a different world,” Carr said. “It was fun again and I enjoyed being on the field and I enjoyed being in the box and I just liked being out there again, just experiencing all the close games, diving for balls, everything about it became fun again. I couldn’t imagine this is my last time ever on the field. I didn’t want it to be over yet. I was ready for more.”
Carr is getting more. She signed with Clackamas Community College on Friday, May 5.
“It’s weird because I went through the process of going through recruiting and all that stuff and then I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Carr said. “Then when it came up you’re just in shock because it actually happened and all the work you put forth is actually getting a positive result.”
Carr’s attention turned to Clackamas a month ago when her former Oregon Titan teammate Baylee Eaton committed to the Cougars.
“She brought up the idea of us getting a house together and all of that stuff,” Carr said. “It was just something that once I started thinking about it I thought that’d be awesome. We don’t travel very far at Clackamas. I wouldn’t miss a ton of school. It’s still getting a good school but also getting to continue playing a sport that I love. I loved the coach. I loved all the girls so it was a pretty easy decision.”
Carr has been on the McNary varsity team for four years, playing in the outfield, third base and now second. She finished her career with one of her best seasons, batting .578 with four home runs, 29 RBIs and 27 runs as the Lady Celts’ cleanup hitter.
“She is hitting the heck out of the ball right now and it’s been a fun senior season watching her,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said. “Being around her the last four years, she’s just one of those kids that makes you smile and laugh a lot. She’s goofy but in a really good way. You need those kind of people around to keep the mood light and that’s what Hannah does.”
As one of only three seniors on a team full of underclassmen, Carr has made it a point to be a leader.
“I want to be a huge impact on the younger girls,” Carr said. “My freshman year I was afraid of every single senior that was on the team and I didn’t know how to talk to them but I try to let them (underclassmen) know that I’m there for them even off the field if they need anything, help with school, help with anything. I’ve been through it all.”
Carr has also loved the fight she’s seen in the young team, especially in an 11-inning, 5-4 win over South Salem on April 26.
“You got to see all of the fight in the younger girls who were putting everything they had on the table out there,” Carr said. “You could see in their eyes that they wanted it, the drive that they had. That was just something that was really cool for me.”
Wise is happy he got one more season with Carr.
“Deep inside it broke my heart because (assistant coach) Brad (Ulrey) and I talk about how these guys are our daughters,” Wise said of the idea of Carr not playing her senior year. “Regardless of the outcome of the season, you want to have these guys around for four years.
“I was really happy that she stuck with it and to see the way she’s doing things this year on and off the field, it’s awesome. You watch her play and the love is back. We knew she had the talent to do this. I hate to see her quit playing because there’s so much talent there so to see her go on and play at the next level, it makes me happy because she’s worked hard on and off the field. She’s a great kid. It’s been a pleasure to get to know her over the last four years.”