Player of the Year: Smith humbly led Grizzlies to great year
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
June 22, 2013 11:39 PM | 2244 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — When Creekview’s Avery Smith found out that he had been selected as the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Baseball Player of the Year, he summed up his feelings with one word: shocked.

Smith was humbled by the selection.

“I think there were players that were a lot better,” he said.

If Smith didn’t think he was that good, others certainly did. He was named all-region for the first time.

Smith, a junior, batted .337 in 31 games for the Grizzlies this season. The outfielder accounted for eight doubles, 26 RBIs, 25 runs, nine walks and maintained a .917 fielding percentage.

But a lot of what Smith did for the Grizzlies doesn’t come across in the numbers. Among those was clutch hitting.

“I just tried to come through with base hits and score runs when we needed it,” said Smith. “Just things like that.”

When Smith is at the plate, he says his goal is to hit it up the middle. Even if he doesn’t get a hit, he wants it to be a productive out. He said he is always looking for a fastball down the middle to drive.

He takes it as a challenge that opposing teams throw their best against Creekview.

“It makes me feel good that we are good and everybody respects us,” said Smith.

Smith’s primary threat this season may have been at the plate, but it certainly wasn’t his only one.

He also spent time on the mound, reaching speeds in the low 90s.

Creekview coach Mike Nayman said that the ceiling may be the highest on Smith’s pitching.

“He has the ability to throw a baseball that not a lot of players can do,” said Nayman. “When you start to show that and get command of it, I lot of people want it. Pitching has the highest ceiling, but for us, he is the biggest threat at No. 3 in the lineup, driving in runs and scoring runs. He is a dual threat.”

Nayman said that Smith is just starting to reach his potential.

“He did a nice job pitching for us, when we needed it,” said Nayman. “Offensively, he was a catalyst. He knocked in almost a run a game and scored three-quarters of a run a game. That accounts for 40 to 50 runs in a high school season. That’s terrific. I think he really started to figure things out and I think that the sky’s the limit for him next year as a senior.”

This summer Smith is playing baseball, along with some of his Creekview teammates, at the Winward Baseball Academy out of Alpharetta. He is hoping to strengthen his resume as his senior year approaches, with the hope that scouts start calling.

“We play against some of the better teams,” said Smith. “If you play good, the bigger schools notice. (My senior year) kind of snuck up on me. It’s kind of scary. Pretty big decisions to make and all that stuff. I want to keep my options open, so I will decide late.”

Nayman believes that as time goes on, Smith is only going to generate more college interest.

“He has had a good first few weeks of the summer season and people are starting to take notice,” said Nayman. “I think that next year he will put up some numbers that will make him say ‘wow’. I assume things will start to pick up for him pretty quick. I think that he is going to have several opportunities at the next level.”

The coach said that Smith will play a larger role on the mound for the Grizzlies next season.

“He can really make batters look overmatched,” said Nayman. “For us he will be pitching one game and then in the next two games he will be in right field. I don’t think that I can limit one just because he can do both. We need to maximize both.”



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