GIRARD — The legacy for Girard High School softball pitcher Shelby Smith continued on Tuesday, as she signed a letter of intent to play for Pittsburg State.
Smith led the Trojans to a state championship in the circle her junior year and will complete her fourth year as a varsity starter this upcoming season, before going on to play with the Gorillas.
“It’s a really cool experience because I’ll still be in the community that has had my back in high school for four year and they’ll be there for me when I’m playing at Pitt,” Smith said. “My mom played basketball at PSU and it’s just nice to have my family and friends be there whenever I need them.”
Smith said she received offers from other schools, but felt the most comfortable with PSU.
“I’ve played at camps there many times, so that field already feels like home to me,” she said. “I won’t be as nervous as I may have been had I gone somewhere else.”
The signing comes as no surprise to Smith’s coaches and teammates, who have watched her dominate the past three seasons.
“Shelby is one of those girls you always hope to have,” GHS head softball coach Jim Vinze said. “She’s always been a very hard-working girl and does whatever you need her to do. She always exceeds my expectations.”
While Smith is best known for stellar pitching performances, she’s also been a reliable third baseman and consistent at the plate.
“I hope I can go in there and prove myself, and hopefully, earn a spot in the pitching rotation,” Smith said. “I’ve been working towards that since I was little, so it’s really exciting. Hopefully, I can help them out on the mound next season.”
Smith said she plans on studying elementary education to pursue a career as a kindergarten teacher and is excited to start college career.
“I’ve only met coach [Ashley] Balazs a couple of times, but she seems really cool,” Smith said. “I’m excited to play for her in the program. I went over there watched some scrimmages and it seems like they’re really coming together.”
Although the future is bright for Smith at the college level, she still hopes to end her high school career with one more run at the state title before moving on.
“Winning the state championship has been the highlight of my high school career, so hopefully, we can do it again,” Smith said. “It was a really cool experience and it’s something I will always remember.”
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.