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Smith Looks to Keep Firing
Softball can be, at different times, both a team and an individual sport. In the most dramatic moments, it's often one player standing alone either on the mound or in the batter's box that can make all the difference. And that is exactly how Milford High sophomore Shannon Smith likes it." It's my favorite time, when it depends on one person, I want to be that person," she said. "It's a big pressure factor and I like that."
The Scarlet Hawks like having Smith just as much. In her freshman year, she posted a 16-1 record on the mound, with the lone loss coming in the state championship game against King Philip. She appreciates what the team was able to accomplish, but that season and that game are in the rearview.
"I used the last game as motivation over the summer and winter when I was working out," said Smith, who works year-round to refine her game. "Now I kind of look at it as 'yeah, so what, they beat us last year.' We have a different team and it's going to be a different show for us, and now we are just going to let everything out."
Head coach Brian Macchi will count on Smith to carry the bulk of the pitching workload again this season. That's something with which he is very comfortable. "I've been in the sport for six years and pitching wise she is one of the most dominant I've seen throughout the state," he said. "As she progresses, she will be one of the best pitching prospects in the region and from there the sky is the limit."
Aside from getting back to the state championship game, Smith has some ambitious but attainable long-term goals in her softball career, including playing in the NCAA Division I tournament and playing for the national team to test her skills against the best in the country. An accomplished hitter, Smith says her favorite time is on the mound. For her, pitching is as much a mental exercise as a display of physical ability. "I like to analyze the batters as a warm-up, what pitches they won't hit. I like to find weaknesses and exploit them," she said. "When I train over the winter, I think about batters I faced, sometimes I go through whole lineups."
"Her work ethic is outstanding," said Macchi. "She is someone who is 24/7 softball. She is dedicated and wants to make her game the best it can be."
Like most athletes, Smith has a particular role model in her sport that she can look up to. Unlike many athletes, however, her role model is always a quick phone call away. "I look up to my sister Andrea more than anyone else, I want to be exactly like her," she said. Andrea Smith has been a star for the Scarlet Hawks for the past four seasons, and has taken her game to the college level at CW Post. The Smith sisters were instrumental in leading Milford to the state finals in 2010.
"I think it brought us closer together since we don't have a ton of chances to play together," said the younger Smith. "We are competitive and it helps make us work harder to try to beat the other one."
"She is always in contact with her sister, and to have someone like that in college will only work as a motivating factor because she wants to be at that level Sunday," said Macchi.
In the meantime, Shannon Smith has made it clear that she has arrived on the high school softball scene. "She's only getting better which is exciting for us and scary for the opponent," said Macchi. "I don't think we've seen the best of her yet."




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