Standing in the middle of the infield, Sam Smith is able to take charge of the situation, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Standing in the middle of the infield, Sam Smith is able to take charge of the situation, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

The junior right-handed pitcher relishes her role on the Hilliard Davidson High School softball team, which was 15-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Central Crossing last Tuesday.

"I like the adrenaline you get out there pitching and I like being in control of the game," said Smith, who was 14-4 before last Tuesday. "The hardest thing is that you have a lot of people counting on you. Everyone behind me, my whole team, is counting on me on every pitch. It's tough, but I try to concentrate on each batter one at a time and try to shut everything out but the batter and that pitch."

Through 15 games, Smith had pitched 101 innings, surrendering 63 hits and 19 runs, but only eight of the runs were earned. She had 80 strikeouts with 12 walks, an ERA of .055 and the opposition was hitting just .186 against her.

"I guess you could say Sam's a finesse pitcher, but she does have over 80 strikeouts, which is pretty decent overall," coach Angelo Forte said. "Sam still has games where she has a lot of strikeouts and other times when she doesn't. She threw a three-hitter (in a 5-0 win) against Darby (on April 19) and had three strikeouts. She gave up seven hits against Westland (in a 9-1 win on April 21) but had 12 strikeouts."

Smith's pitching repertoire consists of six pitches.

"You have to have a lot of pitches because hitters are good and you can't get them out with just a fastball," she said.

In her first season as the workhorse, Smith had a decision in 18 of her team's 19 games and earned a save in the other.

"Sam's still learning to be a pitcher," Forte said. "Right now, she's a thrower. She needs to remain consistent throughout the lineup. But she has a lot of confidence in her teammates behind her and has worked over the summer and winter to get better."

That work came with months of tossing pitches to anyone who would pick up a catcher's mitt.

"I've been pitching since I was 10 and probably worked harder than I ever had for this season," Smith said. "I pitched a lot during the offseason, at least 100 pitches a day in August and September and almost every day in the winter."

Smith works closely with junior Zoe Allegretti, who moved from the outfield to catcher this season after knee injuries forced both Tessa Kilgore and Katie Rine to move out from behind the plate.

"Sam doesn't get ruffled and has been hitting her spots," said Allegretti, who was batting .444 with 14 runs, two triples and five stolen bases through 15 games. "The biggest thing right now is making sure she stays calm if the other team gets on a roll."

Allegretti has started on varsity since her freshman season. Smith knows that experience comes into play during games and helps her become a better pitcher.

"Zoe has made a big transition from the outfield to being catcher," Smith said. "She does a great job of calling pitches and I wouldn't be as successful without her."

Davidson's offense also has been a big asset for Smith, as the Wildcats had a .340 team batting average through 15 games to support her.

Sophomore Kayla Smith missed several games with a leg injury, but was hitting .857 with 12 hits in 14 at-bats. She also has drawn 12 walks and had one home run and 10 RBI.

Rine was hitting .533, Kilgore was batting .391 and Tara Prater was hitting .316 with nine runs and 13 RBI.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Davidson softball team:

*April 12 - Defeated Worthington Kilbourne 3-1

*April 14 - Lost to Dublin Coffman 7-0

*April 16 - Lost to Upper Arlington 2-1

April 17 - Def. Johnstown 9-1; def. Big Walnut 1-0

*April 19 - Def. Darby 5-0

*April 21 - Def. Westland 9-1

Last Friday - Def. Thomas Worthington 1-0 in an OCC-Central game; def. Thornville Sheridan 11-1 in five innings in Centennial's Stellar Classic at Ohio State

Last Saturday - Def. Strasburg-Franklin 3-2; lost to New Concord John Glenn 3-1 in Stellar Classic

*Last Monday - Game against Central Crossing postponed to last Tuesday

*Last Wednesday - Played Kilbourne

*Friday - At Coffman

Saturday - Home vs. Jonathan Alder and Watkins Memorial

*Monday - At Upper Arlington

*Wednesday - Home vs. Darby

May 6 - Home vs. Watterson

Of note: The Wildcats were 15-4 overall and 7-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game