POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Making the dream a reality.
Point Pleasant senior Carter Smith fulfilled a childhood fantasy on Sunday, March 3, after joining the University of Rio Grande baseball program during a signing ceremony at the PPHS library in Mason County.
Smith, thus far, is a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter in the Big Blacks’ program, which included a junior season that resulted in a Special Honorable Mention selection last spring.
Smith — who has pitched, played infield and outfield with the Red and Black — is excited about the chance to play baseball at the collegiate level, especially somewhere less than a half-hour away from his hometown.
“It means the world to me to play at an established program like Rio Grande. It’s truly a blessing to have four more years of baseball at that level and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Smith said. “It’s also a blessing that the opportunity is this close to home. I think it will be a big help to be this close to home and be around family while moving into another phase of my life — both athletically and academically.”
Smith has a career batting average of .363 in his two seasons as a starter with the Big Blacks, going 53-for-146 at the plate. Smith has produced seven doubles, two triples, 16 stolen bases, 18 walks and 37 runs scored while striking out only six times in that same span.
Smith enjoyed a breakthrough season as a junior, going 38-for-77 at the plate for a .493 batting average. He drew fewer walks (8) than in his sophomore season (10), but also doubled his total output in hits, doubles, stolen bases and runs scored.
PPHS baseball coach Andrew Blain was pleased to see Smith receive an opportunity like this, mainly because his soon-to-be four-year letterwinner has put the work in to match his natural ability.
“Carter has been a good player and a hard worker during his time with our program. He’s committed to the game of baseball and he’s committed himself to getting better,” Blain said. “It’s been fun to watch him grow and mature as a player and a person, and it’s always rewarding to see one your players achieve a dream.
“He has come a long way as a player, especially with his work ethic and maturity. He’s put the time in and has grown himself into a good ball player. The hard work has paid off and he’s put himself in a position to be successful. We’re proud of this opportunity for him.”
Smith believes the biggest positive that he brings to the table is his ability, and willingness, to play any position at any given time. Smith also feels ready for the next challenge awaiting him, thanks to a lot of help from the people closest to him.
“I think my versatility is my biggest asset because I can play an assortment of positions on the diamond. I feel like I can contribute and I’m not afraid to play wherever I’m needed on any given day. I just want to play and make the most of the chance,” Smith said. “My parents and my coaches have a lot to do with this moment. So do my friends and my teammates. I’ve been fortunate to have supportive people around me that also pushed me to be a better player. I also feel that Point Pleasant has prepared me for this next challenge and I want to make the most of the opportunity.”
Smith currently carries a 3.1 grade-point average at Point Pleasant and plans to major in Social Sciences while attending Rio Grande.
Carter is the son of Ian and Amanda Carter of Point Pleasant.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.