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Smith takes over Bridgeport softball

BRIDGEPORT — The first day for high school softball teams in Ohio to begin preparing for the upcoming season was Monday. Bridgeport did so with a new head coach, Timmy Smith, its third in three years.

The 2008 Bridgeport graduate takes over for Paige Williams who, unfortunately, never coached a game for the Bulldogs when last season was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Williams succeeded Donnie Cash who won an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 2A championship in 2018 and finished runnerup a year later.

“I’m very appreciative and incredibly grateful to have the support from the community of Bridgeport and to have the opportunity to be able to help bring spring sports back to Bridgeport and to the OVAC this spring,” Smith said. “I honestly never imagined a coaching opportunity in fast-pitch softball as a part of my coaching script, but I’m really excited and eager to take this leap of faith with my student athletes and coaching staff this spring.

“I know I have plenty of softball goals to pursue and big shoes to fill from previous coaches but I’m looking forward to the new coaching adventure and the challenges it will present to my coaching staff and I. It’s been a crazy, exciting offseason, but I’m ready to put the same heart, hustle, and humility into the Lady Bulldog softball program as I have with the high school baseball team in years’ past. I’m just incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped me reach this point in my coaching career thus far.

“All of my coaching experiences in the past have brought meaning and joy to my life,” he added. “Just to have the opportunity to extend my coaching career in my hometown has an unexplainable happiness.”

Smith said he met with the team recently and it is mostly underclassmen.

“We currently have a roster of 12 players, with no seniors this year and only four juniors that I am aware of,” he said, “but our underclassmen are bringing numerous years of little league softball experience with them to the table. We have a good variety of position players interested in each position with a couple players who have pitching and catching experience. As a team, we are currently averaging a 3.2 GPA.”

Smith began his coaching career as a volunteer high school summer league baseball assistant coach at Bridgeport under Frank Pritchett. He was an assistant coach with him for two seasons, and in 2011, he became the head coach.

“I was the head coach for another two seasons, but in 2013, we didn’t have enough players to field a team, so I went into playing in the Ohio Valley Baseball League for the Neffs A’s. A year later, we still didn’t have enough summer league baseball players to field a team and the A’s fell apart, so I started my own OVBL team — the Belmont County Cubs — and had a team for four years, 2014-2017.

“In 2015, Don Cash reached out to see if I was interested in becoming a volunteer varsity assistant baseball coach at Bridgeport with him and the coaching staff of the late Ted Downing. I served in that role for the last six seasons before accepting an interview for the head softball coaching position from coach Greg Harkness in January.”

While this will be Smith’s first season of coaching at the fast-pitch level, he has coached adult women’s slo-pitch softball in Moundsville since 2019. For the last two years, he was the head coach for the Ohio Valley Dream, which captured the Fall 2019 league championship and is currently 40-21 since the team debuted in the Summer of 2019. This will be his 11th year of coaching high school associated sports.

“I wouldn’t be able to successfully coach a fast-pitch softball team without my two incredible assistants who have tolerated me thus far,” he said of Taylor Kinkus (Bridgeport ’09) and Courtney Gouldsberry (Cameron ’14). Both are in their first year of coaching high school sports but both bring multi-sport accolades and great fast-pitch knowledge that will help bridge the coaching gap that I can’t bring over from baseball.

“Taylor was a high school pitcher and Courtney was a high school catcher. Their playing experiences in those positions on the field will definitely help my lack of knowledge on fast-pitch softball pitching.”

Smith currently works for Superior Beverage Group, as a Relief Sales Rep, and has so since June 2018.

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