Smith, a senior catcher for the Springfield College men’s baseball team, has played a pivotal role in the success of the Pride the past four years. A native of Broken Arrow, Okla., Smith is leading the Pride this season in batting average (.371), hits (34), and runs batted in (16). Smith went 3-for-4 and scored two runs in the Pride’s 4-2 victory over WPI in the second game of a double-header. In the Pride’s 5-3 game one victory over WPI, Smith had a crucial two-run single to left field in the Pride’s decisive four-run seventh-inning. In a victory over Rhode Island College, Smith went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Smith is leading the Pride with a total of nine multiple hit games.
Q. As a senior, how is this year’s team different than all your other years at Springfield?
A. This year’s team has guys that can and will contribute in any situation. We feel confident in any lineup that Coach Simeone puts out there and we expect to win every game.We have a bunch of guys who enjoy playing the game of baseball and know that there is always someone to pick them up if they are struggling.
Q. What did you specifically work on in the off-season to get ready for this season?
A. My No. 1 focus in the off-season was my approach at the plate. I really focused on having a clear mind and going out there and having fun in my senior year.
Q. How does it feel to win the NEWMAC West Division?
A. It feels great. Coach Simeone told the team before the first game against WPI last Friday that we had the chance to become the No. 2 seed and win our division. He mentioned that this year’s team was in the same situation as we were two years ago when we swept Babson to earn the two seed in the NEWMAC Tournament. We took those past experiences, along with the help of a number of young players, and played some of the best baseball we had played all year.
Polana, a freshman catcher for the Springfield College softball team, has made a big impact in only her first year. A native of Orange, Mass., Polana has 22 hits in 59 at-bats so far this season. She also has five doubles and 11 RBIs. Lately, Polana has had a hot bat as she went 4-for-4 with three RBI’s, including a walk-off infield hit to win the game against Wheaton College in game one of a doubleheader. In game two, Polana went 4-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Polana’s offensive success will continue to help the Pride as they have already qualified for a berth into the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed.
Q. As a freshman on the softball team, what have you contributed on and off the field?
A. As a first-year player, for any athlete it’s dedication and hard work that makes for a great performance on the field. You play just as hard in practice as you would in a game, and that makes you better.
Q. Was the transition to playing college softball easy?
A. The transition to college ball for me was not too bad, but that is contributed to my teammates and coaches. The hardest thing for me about going to the next level was believing my ability was good enough. This team does so well at supporting and encouraging one another, it’s hard not to believe in yourself.
Q. What is your favorite part about playing with the team?
A. My favorite part about playing on this team is the work we all put into practices. If a teammate knows you’re struggling with your swing, they will give you a few tips and provide feedback to help find what you need to change. The teammates I have right now are the most supportive, hard working, and competitive athletes I’ve ever played with, and I’m so thankful for being able to play with them.