Penn-Trafford hurler Smith among area's best
Penn-Trafford pitcher Tyler Smith isn't about to let one hiccup Monday spoil his senior season.
After losing his first game of the season to rival Norwin, Smith said he can't wait for the next meeting between the teams May 5.
“It was one of those games,” Smith said. “Norwin got every good bounce, and we didn't. Hopefully, it will be different the next time we meet.”
Smith is 4-1, and Penn-Trafford is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA by Trib Total Media with a 9-1 record.
In 27 innings, he has struck out 39.
He was coming off probably his best all-around game in his high school career. On April 10 against Hempfield, he struck out 10 batters and went 3 for 3 with a home run, a double and five RBIs.
“Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard said it the best last week: When Tyler is on, he can beat anyone,” Penn-Trafford coach Ron Evans said. “He was up in the zone against Norwin, and it hurt him.
“He still pitched OK. He pitched five innings and struck out six, but he hit two batters and walked four (two intentionally). He wasn't as sharp.”
Smith signed a letter of intent to attend Canisius College in Buffalo. He picked Canisius because of its business program.
Evans expects him to pitch well in college.
“It's one of the best business programs in the country,” Smith said. “It's the right fit. The baseball team is on the rise. They've had 10 players drafted the past couple years, and they were in the NCAA Division I playoffs last year.”
Evans said Smith had a great junior season. But it didn't end well.
The right-hander developed a sore elbow that forced him to miss the WPIAL playoffs. While no surgery was needed, Smith missed much of the summer rehabbing and resting the elbow.
“I didn't throw all summer,” Smith said. “I missed a couple showcases, but things still turned out well.
“I didn't take care of my arm. I didn't ice the elbow after games, and I didn't properly stretch or warm up before games. I was lucky. It could have been worse.”
Smith said his goals are simple for his senior season.
“We want to win the section and make the playoffs,” Smith said. “Maybe even win a few games in the playoffs. This is the best team I've played with in years here.
“My personal goals were to have more than 75 strikeouts and have an earned run average of less than 1.00. The ERA might be difficult after Monday. At the plate, I wanted to get my batting average back above .400 where it was when I was a sophomore. I batted .330 as a junior.”
This season, Smith is batting .500 with four doubles, two triples and a home run. He has 15 RBIs and is batting .615 in section play.
“As long as he's healthy, he's going to have a good season,” Evans said. “We just didn't score enough runs on Monday.”