WILDWOOD, Mo. (BVM) — In the late 1990s, Katie Mitchell — now Katie Carr — was well-known as a softball star in Missouri, and later went on to play in college at the University of Pittsburgh. A couple of decades later, her daughter Abby is entering into a similar position. As just a freshman at Lafayette High School, Abby continues to show why her ceiling in the sport is so high.
Ranked as one of the top freshmen in the state, the 6-foot standout has long given plenty of reason to believe she would be this good to start her high school career. Of course, it starts with her genes in the sport.
“My mom played through college and my dad played baseball as well,” Abby said. “They were pushing me towards the sport, so it was just something that I naturally fell in love with.”
In 1997, Abby’s mom hit one of the biggest home runs in Lafayette High School history — a 10th-inning walk-off that helped the Lancers earn a Class 4A state title. Katie’s tremendous senior season earned her state player of the year honors.
From there, Katie went on to pitch and play first base at Pitt where she helped the Panthers to three Big East titles.
Meanwhile, Abby’s dad, Mike, also played baseball locally at Parkway South before going on to compete at Missouri State University. Between both parents, Abby has not only learned the ins and outs of the game, but has also received constant support.
“I’ve been able to learn a lot in different situations she’s put me through,” Abby said specifically about her mom. “Knowing that I can succeed how she succeeded and how she sees the game has brought a big impact towards where I am now.
“They’ve always been there for me and have traveled with me all over. They always call me after my games and teach me lessons. They’ve always taught me to be myself and always be humble for what you’ve done. I’m very proud of my hard work. I’ve never really been the best and have had to work twice as hard as everyone else.”
Through her select softball career, Abby has always played with the St. Louis Chaos. She continues to do so now, and over the last couple of years, she also has had the chance to compete at higher age levels, giving her invaluable experience for the future.
“Every game has its own memories and it’s all been fun,” Abby said about her time with the Chaos. “Being selected during tryouts is really cool and knowing that I can do it and am good enough to do it made me feel all my hard work has paid off. They’ve pushed me to be my best, it’s been a really fun experience.”
In a few weeks, Abby will take her talents to the pool at Lafayette to continue her swimming career. If it’s anything like her first season on the diamond this fall, the Lancers may be in for a big year.
The 15-year-old has dazzled time and again, both in the circle and at the plate. Whether it was her 13-strikeout performance in late August, her no-hitter in early September or her double-digit RBI total, Abby has people thinking another Carr will go down as one of the best to ever play in Missouri.
“The no-hitter felt really, really good; it was a good game,” Abby said. “Knowing that my teammates had my back, that game was great.”
As the season winds down, Abby hopes to continue improving, particularly with her pitching as she continues to work on her rise ball and perfect her changeup and fastball — which has been clocked at 64 miles per hour. She also wants to bring team success to Lafayette throughout the remainder of her time as a Lancer, but takes each moment with a game-by-game approach.
“My goals through my high school career have just been good strikes, quality pitches and competing in each game,” Abby said. “I want to execute my spots, go up to the plate attacking good pitches and just have quality pitching and at-bats.
“Making it to state is a huge goal for me and the team and leading the team to that would be awesome. Having that opportunity like my mom did would also be pretty awesome.”
In addition to her mom, one of Abby’s greatest softball idols is Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts, who threw a perfect game during the 2021 College World Series. While the freshman may just be beginning her high school tenure, she is already receiving similar Division I college interest and seems destined for a career that could soon match either of her idols — potentially at a familiar stop.
“I’ve been to a couple of camps and campuses and have actually been to Pittsburgh and really like it up there,” Abby said. “It’s been really cool to just see different schools, what they offer, and what their campus and team is like.”
Whether it is Pitt, an SEC school or anywhere across the country, Abby is poised to accomplish her college softball dream.
“It’s definitely a goal of mine to play college softball,” Abby said. “My goals for that would be to just be myself and compete. After that, it’s whatever the future holds.”
While Abby may have big shoes to fill within her family, she has never felt any pressure to do so. Rather, it’s an honor for her just to have the opportunity, and with how well she has played thus far in her young career, there is little doubt that she is making her family proud.
“I feel like I’ve worked hard enough to get to this point,” Abby said. “There are definitely some big footsteps to fill, but I have been working and I feel like everything will continue to come the way it has.”