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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on November 20th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 37 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 37

Kyle Smith

Scout Day standout

BY KRISTINA SEWELL


KYLE SMITH
PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL

Outfielder Kyle Smith was one of the 25 prospective players scouts had their eyes on during a four-hour event at John Osborne Field on Nov. 15. A 2012 graduate from Pioneer Valley High School, Smith said he was excited about the Scout Day.

“It was exposure to the next level, but there was a lot of anxiety that went with it,” he said. “I really tried not to think about it—coach [Chris] Stevens told us the day before to be ourselves and play like we do every day.”

Smith said scouts want to see consistency, hustle, a good attitude, and tenacity. When he was at the plate, the sophomore center fielder said he didn’t focus on the eyes behind him and just took deep breaths.

“My base running went well today, but I didn’t get a whole lot of action in the outfield,” he said.

As a freshman, Smith came up big for the Bulldogs with a .310 batting average and .431 on-base percentage. He tied for the teammate with the most stolen bases with 10.

“Smith can run and he is definitely a disciplined hitter,” pitching coach Clarence Griego said. “He is one guy we anticipate having a good year.”

Griego added that Smith is an exceptional leader with good character, but that there are some things he would like to see the player improve.

“I would like to see him do a better job of zone hitting and being confident in his pitch,” the coach said. “If he does that, everything else will fall in line for him.”

Smith said he feels he has gained more baseball knowledge during his time at Hancock, and he has learned to pay attention to the little things.

“You have to learn from what you observe,” he said. “Being around all these coaches and players has made me a better player because everyone likes to be here.”

With the fall season winding down and the spring season still a long way off, Smith said he will continue practicing and working out. His goals for the upcoming season are to improve consistency at the plate and to learn to shake off mistakes.

Smith, who said he has been playing ball since he could stand, loves the child-like feeling he gets from playing the game.

“Every day and every at-bat is a new day with baseball,” he said. “You can be a kid forever playing baseball.”