St. Clairsville’s Smith joins sister as a Red Flash
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Amaya Smith couldn’t even venture a guess as what she’d do with her time if she didn’t play softball.
Thus it’s only fitting that the St. Clairsville senior continues her career in the sport she loves for at least four more seasons.
Smith — the Red Devils ace pitcher — formally inked her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic careers at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania Wednesday morning during a ceremony inside the St. Clairsville High School Library with her family, several of her friends and teammates.
“It’s so nice to have (signing day) here,” Smith said. “I’ve been dreaming of this day forever. This is a really big deal to me.”
When Smith says she’s been dreaming of this day forever, she means it literally. Ever since the first time she stepped onto a softball field, Smith has wanted to play at the collegiate level and, more specifically, the Division I level.
“It’s always been my goal, but I told myself that if I didn’t get a Division I offer, it would be OK, but I definitely worked hard for it,” Smith said. “I guess I met my goal.”
Smith has actually been committed to the Red Flashes, who won the Northeast Conference title and played in the NCAA Tournament this past May, for more than a year. Despite some other inquiries and offers, she never came close to having a second thought on her decision.
“The coaches are really cool, nice and motivational,” Smith said of St. Francis’ staff.
St. Francis had a clear leg up on the rest of the schools that were after Smith’s services. And that’s because Smith will be joining her older sister, Adrian on the squad. She is preparing for her sophomore season with the Red Flashes.
“I always wanted to go to a small school, but being there with my sister will definitely help a lot in terms of helping me get used to everything and adjusted,” Smith said. “I am hoping to help St. Francis continue to build on what they’ve accomplished.
The Smith Family moved to the Ohio Valley from Pennsylvania during the 2014-15 school year, but neither Adrian, nor Amaya, had any trouble adjusting to a new school.
“It wasn’t bad because my sister and I had each other and we were best friends, plus it’s not hard for me to make new friends, so I kind of fit in when I got here,” Smith said. “My sister and I text all the time. We love playing together, so this is a really big deal for us. She’s very excited.”
Smith has been the Red Devils’ ace since taking the job over in the spring of 2016 when she helped guide her team to the OVAC title and a berth in the Division II regional in Pickerington.
Through three seasons, Smith owns a 27-7 record in the circle with an impressive 369 strikeouts. She’s posted an earned run average of 3.12.
Those kinds of numbers coupled with her consistent velocity hovering in the low 60s are just two of the qualities that St. Francis saw in Smith, who has been recruited as a pitcher and utility player.
“My goal is to be a pitcher for St. Francis and play a big role in the circle,” Smith said. “I love hitting, so I would love to be in the lineup.”
As she’s racked up the wins and strikeouts, Smith has also received plenty of acclaim and still has a season to go. She was named second-team all-Ohio after last season. She’s a multiple-time all-OVAC, all-Eastern District, all-Buckeye 8, all Times Leader and all-Valley selection.
“My high school career has been amazing,” Smith said. “Being part of this team has been great. We all work together and I know they’ve all got my back. It’s been great.”
Though Smith has been impressive, she fully understands that the process isn’t complete. She admitted continuing to gain velocity and mastering her off-speed pitches must continue if she expects to reach her next set of goals.
“I need to get up into the mid 60s and have a lot of spin on the ball,” Smith said.
This past summer, Smith played travel ball for Lasers Orange, which is a team with a collection of players “from all over” according to Smith.
“We played a lot of games,” Smith said. “My life is all around softball.”
Though softball is the only sport she played and a huge part of her life, Smith has found time to take part in both Drug Free Club and Spanish Club during her high school career.
Amaya, who is leaning toward majoring in exercise physiology, is the daughter of Chris and Michelle Smith.