Smith loves the game of baseball
Nolan Smith just finished up basketball season as a member of the back to back 1A state champion Bay Yellowjackets. But when we sat down to talk baseball, his eyes lit up. "I love basketball and love to play the game, but baseball edges it out as my favorite sport," Smith said with a hint of a smile on his face.
Smith, a junior, returns to pitch, play shortstop and an occasional stint in center field for the ball team. Smith said he wants to help build a baseball dynasty at Bay and to help win the first baseball state title for the school.
Smith and his basketball teammates who also play baseball usually get a late start at baseball due to the success of the basketball program. Second year head coach Stephen Abanathy doesn't necessarily see that as a bad thing. "I think the success the basketball team has carries over to the baseball field. These kids know how to win. It's not that they are afraid to lose, they just hate to lose due to fact they are so successful on the court," Abanathy said.
Smith attended Pirate City baseball camp back in the summer and said he learned a lot about baseball while there. "We did so much stuff. We learned the proper way to stretch, we had individual work stations we went to and then played games in the afternoons. It was a great experience," Smith said. Asked what he learned at camp would he use the most this baseball season, Smith replied, "The knowledge I learned about the game. Being mentally prepared for each game."
Having attended the camp as a pitcher, Smith said that is where he's most comfortable during a game. "I like to control the pace of the game," Smith said. Abanathy said Smith is tough on the mound. "He's a competitor. He has a great curve ball and he moves his fastball well and keeps it away. He needs to work on his change up and if he and (Taylor) Layne can get that pitch down, I think we will be better than we were last year," Abanathy said. "He pitches in the big games and he responds," Abanathy added.
Bay is off to a 3-1 start when we did this article and Smith said he has high expectations for this year's team. "We want to be on of the final four teams in state and give ourselves a shot at winning that state title," Smith said.