|Carper signs with Odessa College|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Feb. 12, 2005 - Many times when children graduate from high school, they leave home. In Casey Carper's situation, home is going with her.
Carper, a senior at Sulphur Springs High School, signed Friday to play softball for Odessa College, just a short jaunt from Midland, where her father has been working and living since the summer and where her mother will be moving after Casey graduates.
Her father, Danny Carper, said he took the job in Midland with an eye toward Casey playing there. She and her mother, Debbie, stayed in Sulphur Springs so she could finish high school here.
Their son, Jeff, is playing junior college baseball in Oklahoma and is being recruited by Angelo State, so they could all be within easy driving distance by the fall semester.
"That would be real nice if it turns out that way," said Danny. "I actually took this job because Casey had thought Odessa might be where she would end up. It's be nice to be able to see her play in college because I'm going to miss most of her games this year."
Carper is a three-year starter for the Lady Cats, playing right field her sophomore season and second base as a junior. She is the only returning full-time starter after being a second team All-District selection last year while batting .338 with 25 hits, six extra-base hits and 11 walks in 86 at-bats.
But, it was her defense that impressed the Odessa coaches the most.
"He liked my defense, and he liked that I was aggressive on defense," Carper said.
SSHS head coach John McCullough said that's what Carper does best.
"She has great range, great lateral quickness and hands. She can pretty much cover the whole right side of the infield," McCullough said. "She's very important for us at second base, especially because of the different coverages we encounter. She's very valuable for us."
Carper decided on Odessa after visiting the improving campus. Her dorm is only a year old, and the school's athletic facilities are impressive.
She will likely play second base at OC, and take courses toward becoming an X-ray technician.
Before that happens, though, she will be trying to lead the Lady Cats to another playoff berth.
"She's really the only returning starter we have coming back from last year's team," McCullough said. "Her leadership abilities and presence on the field is very important for us because she is the only one who's really been through an entire season, especially a district season."