Bailey Smith has fielding down to a science.
The senior second baseman for the Grandview Heights High School softball team loves that part of the game. More than hitting, fielding her position is what gives her the most sense of pride.
"I like fielding the ball. I like diving for the ball. I like going a long way to get the ball," Smith said. "It's difficult to do. You have to get your angles right, and then get to the ball. You have to track it and take off for the ball. It's what I like most about the game."
Smith, a Wilmington College recruit, is in her third season starting at second base for the Bobcats, who were 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division after losing to Whitehall 11-7 on April 10.
Last season, she batted .406 and was named first-team all-league. As a sophomore, she was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league after batting .439 with 13 RBI and scoring 30 runs.
Despite those numbers, she looks at her plate performance as an area of concern. She believes she's more polished as a fielder than as a hitter.
"(Hitting) is my biggest struggle in softball," she said. "I have worked with so many hitting coaches and I still drop my hands (before swinging). I start doing that, and I put pressure on myself.
"It's a constant battle. I do well for a while and then I go into a slump. I need to be more consistent."
First-year coach Tori Lynch dismisses the notion that Smith struggles at the plate, saying Smith is being too much of a perfectionist.
"Bailey is too hard on herself; she needs to get out of her own head," Lynch said. "She has to understand that no one gets a hit every time up, and that's what she expects to do. Even in Major League Baseball, that doesn't happen. If they get hits three out of 10 times up, they're great. She has to realize that. Trusting her own talent is big (for her)."
Smith works on her swing by hitting off of a tee more than using a pitching machine. She said that helps her learn more about her mechanics.
"I do lots and lots of tee work," Smith said. "When you hit off the machine, the ball is fast all the time, and it's straight.
"When you hit off the tee, you see where you're hitting the ball. You see if you're under it or what you are doing. I do a lot of slow motion (swinging) to the ball."
Smith has played basketball and soccer and participated in swimming and cheerleading. But she settled on softball, a sport she has played since she was 4 years old.
"One thing about being a senior is I really like being a leader," Smith said. "I kind of struggled with that at first, but I'm trying to help my teammates out in a positive way. Being positive is so important in softball because it is such a mental game."
Lynch said the Bobcats gravitate toward Smith.
"Bailey is such a natural leader," Lynch said.
"They follow her example by the way she plays the game. She also has a quirky personality that helps lighten the mood, which helps a lot with the game."
The Bobcats have five seniors who have been an integral part of the team since their freshman season. Smith said the close-knit class wants to finish their careers strongly.
"We have always been a talented group and we have always taken softball seriously," Smith said. "That hasn't always been the case at Grandview. The five seniors are all so close and I think that will make a difference. I think we can do well this year."
Baseball team looks to
The baseball team was 5-5 overall and 1-2 in the MSL-Ohio after defeating Whitehall 6-5 on April 10.
"We're catching up on reps and getting better," coach Tyler Fitzgerald said. "We still have some things we need to fix. We need to work on not giving teams easy outs like strikeouts or popups in the infield."
Through seven games, Jake Hollar was batting a team-high .500 with nine runs, eight RBI and nine stolen bases. Joey Bertani was batting .471 with one home run, nine RBI and five runs.
Joe McCauley was batting .364 with seven runs and four RBI, and Gavin VanHorn was hitting .364 with six runs and four RBI.
Bertani, a freshman, has led the pitching staff, going 1-0 and not giving up a run in eight innings with 10 strikeouts and five walks.
"Joey had a great week for us," Fitzgerald said. "He threw a three-hit shutout against Wellington (10-0 in five innings April 4) and had a home run in the game. He has grown up playing a lot of baseball, and you can see that the way he runs the bases and throws the ball."
In league play, the Bobcats lost to West Jefferson 12-0 in five innings April 3 and Worthington Christian 6-1 on April 5.
On April 8, they swept Eastmoor Academy 21-1 in five innings and 16-6 in six innings.
Boys tennis team drops
first five matches
The boys tennis team was looking for its first win when it played Worthington Christian on April 11 in MSL-Ohio action.
The Bobcats were 0-5 overall after losing to Hartley 5-0 on April 10.
Grandview lost to West Jefferson 3-2 on April 4 to fall to 0-1 in the league. Freshman Calvin Horning won at third singles, and the team of seniors Caleb Akers and Ben Hecker won at first doubles.
Sophomore Sam Speaks won at first singles as the Bobcats lost to Teays Valley 4-1 on April 5.