Colt Smith has enjoyed a lot of postseason success for Mars Hill, but none of it was given to him. It was earned through hard work.
Smith dominated on the mound as a senior, controlling almost all of the teams he faced throughout the 2019 season. Smith went 10-1 with a 0.84 ERA and 87 strikeouts as the Panthers ace.
His mound dominance has resulted in Smith being named the TimesDaily 1A-3A Pitcher of the Year.
Smith and the other players of the year will be honored at a June 11 banquet at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum. The overall male and female athletes of the year and the top girls and boys athletic programs will be announced at the banquet. Professional angler and motivational speaker Clay Dyer is the keynote speaker.
Smith said a strong support group around him plus a good relationship with his catcher helped make this year special.
“What made an impressive year possible for me would be the hard work I’ve put in, the coaches, and most importantly God giving me talents and abilities to do what I have done,” Smith said. “My catcher, Collin Huntley, has caught me for six years, and we have called our own pitches since then.”
Smith made appearances in the playoffs five times in five years on the varsity baseball team. Three times the Panthers made it to the semifinals. Twice the Panthers made it to the championship series. His final trip this season ended with a championship celebration.
Smith was a vital part of the Panthers pitching staff with big wins throughout the season including eight shutout innings in a fourth round win and also a save in game one of the state championship series. He also played an important role on Mars Hill’s first state championship football team.
Smith also helped his own cause at the plate, batting .440 on the season with eight home runs, 49 RBIs and also a OPS of 1.472.
Smith said making sure Mars Hill keeps its championship level culture up is a big deal to him.
“Baseball expectations at Mars Hill have always been high,” Smith said. “The program and leadership that Coach Mitchell provides make us approach the season expecting to be playing for championships each year.”
Mars Hill head baseball coach Jay Mitchell said all of Smith’s work helped him become one of Mars Hill’s bona fide leaders.
“His leadership and intensity he gives is huge for our younger guys,” Mitchell said. “He does a great job in the weight room, and he is always working hard.”
A two-sport standout, Smith will continue his academic and athletic career at Jacksonville State playing for the Gamecock football team. Smith is leaving Mars Hill with state championship rings in two sports.