Monica White Trask’s college softball career was coming to an end, and though she knew her playing days were likely over, the former Cony High School star wasn’t ready to say the same about her involvement with the sport.

“I don’t think I could ever leave it entirely,” she said.

And she hasn’t. Once the state’s best high school pitcher, Trask has gotten into coaching, and is in her third season at the helm of the Maine Kiotis — formerly the Capital Mainiacs — travel team.

For Trask, who went into medicine as a physician’s assistant at Family Focused Healthcare, it was a perfect fit.

“Softball’s always been a really big part of my life, so being able to keep at least a little bit of that in my life has been really important,” she said. “I love working with the kids, so it’s just kind of doubly beneficial.”

Trask works with the up-and-coming talent in the central Maine area, and could wind up coaching the next Monica White.

People remember the first.

“It kind of tends to get brought up when I’m getting introduced (at games),” Trask said. ” ‘Oh, this is so-and-so, and she did this, that and the other thing. This is Monica White, and she was a great pitcher back in the day.’ And when I’m not thinking about it, I run into someone that says ‘Oh, you’re that pitcher from Cony.’ ”

The celebrity is well-earned. Trask was named Miss Maine Softball in 2006 as the state’s best senior softball player, during which she led the Rams to the Class A championship game. No central Maine player has won it since.

Trask got the word during the state’s All-Star games, where the news was announced by her father, Don.

Cony pitcher Monica White delivers a pitch during the 2006 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A softball championship game against Messalonskee. Kennebec Journal file photo

“That was a pretty powerful moment,” Trask said. “My dad was someone who worked with me a lot on my pitching, he went to all my lessons with me and he caught for me. For him to be able to be a part of it in that way was incredible.”

Trask went 18-2 that year with 16 shutouts, and averaged 13 strikeouts a game. She batted .340, but she was known around the state for her artistry in the circle.

“She was a horse. She could really come into the game, be powerful, and nothing would fluster her,” former Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said. “She had this killer changeup that no one could hit. Speed-wise, she was throwing about 55, 56. … But the changeup made it about five miles an hour faster.”

 

Her magnum opus that season was an East semifinal game against Skowhegan in which she pitched all 17 innings of a 1-0 victory — on the afternoon following Cony’s all-night Project Graduation, no less.

“I think I went home and napped for a few hours, and then got ready for the game,” Trask said. “I think adrenaline carries you at that point. It was a one-run game. You just keep going.”

Trask struck out 30 batters in the game.

“There wasn’t really a choice. If I needed to go another inning, I was going another inning,” she said. “I wanted to pitch. I wanted to be the person on the mound. I wasn’t going to let there be anyone else.”

The season ended with an error-filled 5-2 loss to Biddeford in the final, which Trask called “bittersweet.”

“I remember being in the battle and being really excited,” she said. “Nobody wants to end their career on a loss, especially in the state championship game. But we had such a good season.”

Trask went on to play softball and basketball at Rivier College in Nashua, N.H., but knew there were few options for fast-pitch softball after school. She had also made post-graduate plans, and went to Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science to get a masters degree in physician assistant studies.

Monica White, back row far left, poses with her Mainiacs softball team. Submitted photo

“I knew I wanted to go into health care, ever since I was really little. It was just kind of a matter of finding my way there,” she said. “I always thought I wanted to do pediatrics. I think it’s just the ‘helping people’ thing is what I like to do.”

Trask does family practice, which allows her to work with patients of all ages.

“It fits me,” she said. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing.”

Trask never left softball behind, however. She started giving private pitching lessons while still at Rivier, and then got an offer to coach the Mainiacs.

It’s been a learning experience.

“(It’s) definitely a process,” she said. “I can teach somebody how to bunt and I can teach somebody how to field a ground ball and how to play the outfield. It’s more the strategy behind it that takes a feel for (it). In theory, I know when a good time to bunt is, but to actually make that split-second decision, that’s taken a little more practice.”

She’s noticed that the fire she had in the circle hasn’t left her in the dugout, or while running practices.

“I’m really competitive. I don’t like to lose, and I try really hard not to,” she said. “So I can’t be that ‘It’s okay, we’ll get them next time’ (coach), but I also know that I’m working with teenage girls. They’re between 14 and 16 years old, and you can’t necessarily be that hard coach all the time. I try to strike a little bit of a balance and be what they need me to be.”

And for Trask, that’s been perhaps the most rewarding part — being the guiding presence that helps young players reach the next level.

“A lot of the girls that I coach are all multi-sport athletes too, so being able to watch them excel and be involved in different sports too is pretty cool,” she said. “Just watching them succeed and grow is a lot of fun.”

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