Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chamberlain's Mary Kate Smith has shown versatility

Chamberlain’s Mary Kate Smith, right, has started the season 15-for-16 at the plate for a .938 batting average — the best in the state. “I just feel very confident in myself right now,” she says.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Chamberlain’s Mary Kate Smith, right, has started the season 15-for-16 at the plate for a .938 batting average — the best in the state. “I just feel very confident in myself right now,” she says.

TAMPA — Going back to Little League, Chamberlain softball player Mary Kate Smith has played every position with the exception of second base.

Every other place was fair game, even though it might have been a tough sell at first: "I used to despise the outfield," Smith recalls. She has played first base, outfield and catcher in her four seasons at Chamberlain. Her positional flexibility was a part of it, but the other side was that the Chiefs needed her bat in the lineup.

And what a bat she has had this season, even though Smith said she didn't know about her torrid start at the plate until Thursday.

"Somebody mentioned it to me today," she said. "I still don't know what it is exactly."

To be exact, Smith goes into tonight's game against Plant with 15 hits in 16 at-bats this season. Yes, she has made only one out. Her .938 batting average is the best in the state.

"I just feel very confident in myself right now," she said.

That might be an understatement.

Smith, an exemplary student whose 5.84 weighted GPA (a 4.0 unweighted) ranks 10th in her senior class, will attend Stanford, where she was recruited to play the corner infield positions. Smith said she dreamed of playing at Stanford since she was 12 years old and first watched Stanford play in the college world series on television.

"There was just something about the way they played," said Smith, who chose Stanford over Florida, Northwestern, Virginia and Auburn. "After that game, I told my mom, I'm going to Stanford. … And later on I knew that if I had the chance to go to my dream school and I didn't go, I might regret it later."

Smith was supposed to start at first this season, but Chamberlain coach Bob Diez needed her elsewhere. With an injury to starting catcher Kasie Hatfield, he put Smith behind the plate.

Her leadership there has done wonders working with a young pitching staff that includes junior Alexandra Hartshorn and freshman Angela Kafalas.

"She controls the game from back there at catcher," Diez said. "She's worked very well with both of our pitchers. She lets them know the little things they have to do."

"That feel for catching never goes away," Smith said. "It still comes to me. It's great working with pitchers who you can talk with about what you see. … For me, I just go out and play and try not to think about it too much."

The Chiefs (6-0) haven't been challenged much in their first six games, outscoring opponents 82-5, but their most challenging stretch begins against the Panthers (8-1).

"We're going to be tested," Diez said. "We'll see how it pans out."

But Diez is glad to have Smith there to put behind the plate.

"She's a mature young lady," Diez said. "She's a great team player. She wants to be in the lineup. She'll play first base at Stanford. She played rightfield for us two years ago. She's solid as a hitter."

Eduardo A. Encina can be reached

at eencina@sptimes.com or

(813) 226-3353.

Chamberlain's Mary Kate Smith has shown versatility 03/07/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule

    Tennis

    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]