Carrie Shrewsbury barely has time to paint her toenails.
She’s a 17-year-old high school junior, and pedicures for a teenage girl should be par for the course now that flip-flop season has arrived.
But Shrewsbury is too busy leaping after fly balls, sliding into third base and even coaching other kids on the softball field. So she packed her nail polish for school this week and did her thing during lunch break at Towson High.
It was the only chance she was going to get.
Shrewsbury, a Lutherville resident, is the starting shortstop and team captain for her club team, the Western Howard County Fever, a Class A women’s softball team based in Glenwood, MD.
It’s a long haul from Lutherville—with no traffic, it still takes the teen and her dad, assistant coach Steve Shrewsbury, an hour to get to the twice-weekly practices.
“I’ve learned to come home from school, sit at the table, do my homework, and get ready for softball,” Shrewsbury said. “And then be home by 9:30 for bed.”
It takes even longer to get to the tournaments, which are held every weekend, all weekend. Over Memorial Day weekend, Shrewsbury and her teammates—all high school students from several counties who commute as far as she does—played in one of the largest women's fast-pitch tournaments held in the Mid-Atlantic area, the Memorial Day Madness Tournament in Shippensburg, PA.
The tournament drew teams from nine states and three Canadian provinces and the Fever won first place, taking home a trophy taller than any player who raised it.
This past weekend, the Fever captured first place again at a Frederick, MD tournament sponsored by the Amateur Softball Association of America, which earned the team a spot in this year’s national competition in July, in Carey, NC.
For Shrewsbury, it will be her fifth trip to a national championship.
“I’ve had to give up a lot for softball, like birthday parties, and movies, and going on dates,” she said. “But I’ve gotten so into the sport these days.”
Shrewsbury is also the starting shortstop and team captain for her Towson High softball team. She’s been a varsity starter for three years and sometimes plays center field. She is also an all-academic player in Baltimore County.
“I just like the fact that I can step on the field, and I can call all the plays, and I yell out where they go, and I just love being in it and in the action and not watching," Shrewsbury said. "I just love the feeling when you dive and you get the ball.”
Shrewsbury and her father decided to join the Fever, despite its distance from home, because it was the most competitive club team they could find. Carrie knew she was ready for more than what a rec council travel team could offer, and Steve hoped Carrie could attract the eye of a college scout.
The work ethic involved to train, travel and compete is staggering. But Steve said that Carrie, who he described as a workaholic, has risen to the challenge.
“Truthfully, the commitment to softball has carried over into everything,” Steve said. “She’s very committed to go to college.”
Her father said that all the girls on the team must turn in their report cards to the head coach. As passionate as the team is about the sport, school comes first.
“The work ethic, outside of softball, is amazing,” Steve said of the entire team.
In her free time, Shrewsbury still manages to wind up on a softball field. During practices for a local team called The Crew, she helps one of her former coaches who taught her to pitch when she was just 10 years old.
“I help at his practice now, to see all the kids, and just help, because he’s done so much for me," she said.
Carrie Shrewsbury also assists with the Lutherville-Timonium Lazers, another fast-pitch club team. And she helps out with her father's other team, the LTRC Challengers, a special-needs softball team for intellectually disabled children and adults. She has been involved with the team for six years, coaching the players on their skills and helping them through their games.