Casey Lower

Pitcher for Div. III state softball runners-up

Ursuline High pitcher Casey Lower will never be a multi-sport star and you can safely rule out her competing in the heptathlon at the 2012 Olympics.

“I’m too clumsy to do anything else,” the junior said. “I fall down a lot. My freshman year, between school and softball [practice], I fell down the steps and twisted my ankle.

“After that, Coach [Mike Kernan] kind of nixed anything other than softball and necessary exercise.”

If this seems amusingly candid, well, that’s Lower, who embraces her nickname “The Mask” and who long ago accepted her one-sport specialty.

“It’s just kind of a fact — Casey’s clumsy,” she said.

Except on the mound, where she’s dominating. The three-year starter pitched the Irish to the first regional title in school history this spring, falling to Hebron Lakewood in the Division III state championship game.

“Honestly, I can’t really remember [the postseason],” said Lower, who went 26-7 and earned second team All-Ohio. “It was just a big blur.

“We just took it one game at a time and did our best.”

Lower learned the game from her grandfather, a pitching coach, and her early playing career revolved around travel ball. At 13, she broke her nose and was faced with either wearing a mask while pitching or giving up softball for a year.

She chose the mask. Once her nose healed, she kept wearing it, in part to ease the fears of her mother and grandfather.

As a freshman at Ursuline, she got some teasing about it from her teammates, but they welcomed her and she blossomed into the team’s No. 1 starter. She’s only gotten better.