Saturday November 18th, 2017
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2018 Free Agent infielder Ricky Smith

 

 

Ricky Smith

USSSA Playing History

Interview conducted on 11/1/2016

2018 Free Agent – email is ricky.smith1524@gmail.com

What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I play anywhere on the infield.  Came up playing 3b, moved to the middle and 2b, and have played short the last 2 years.  My best position is the middle.

Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
I will stay local and say Robin Higginbotham.  When I first started playing softball, he was the first upper player I was able to play with.  Could hit the ball for average and power but his defense was some of the best I'd seen as a newcomer to softball.

Why do you like the game of softball?
It's a great game first of all.  Fast paced, intense, and there are so many great people that care about the game.  It's nice to travel and meet people that share the enjoyment for the game.

Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
I'm not sure who the best up and coming player is.  In our area there are a lot of good players that could do well on the upper level.

What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
Slim, Stick, RSmith, and for some reason, this past season,  Donald Plaisance called me T-Rick?? haha

What is your height and weight?
6'3/200

Where do you call home?
I live in Diamondhead, MS on the MS Coast.  40 minutes from New Orleans

What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
My wife and I love to travel, camp, or spend time on the beach.

What do you do for a living?
I'm a teacher and baseball coach in Ocean Springs, MS

Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
H.S. Baseball, Basketball, and High Jump in Track
College Baseball at MS Gulf Coast Community College, and the University of Mobile

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I started out playing in a 1 pitch tournament, was seen and picked up on a D team.  Tommie Baugh was our pitcher, and he asked me to play for his C team.  We performed well in  Utrip C world and moved to the Conference and played B.  I played the next year with him at the end of the year when they were bumped to A.

What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The overall level of play is better.  Defenses are solid, but if you do make a mistake, most offenses make you pay dearly, but the pitching is the biggest difference.  They pitch to their defense, pump fake well, and try to make you hit their pitch all the time.

Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
I don't really do comparisons.  I play really good defense.  I can base hit, and over the last two years have developed more power.

What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
In my first conference weekend, playing in the second dual in FL, I hit a walk off grand slam with BaughFord against R&M Metals.  That was cool.  This year, turning the double play to double dip in WSL C World  was cool  It was a long day and a fun comeback with a great group of guys

In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
I've been fortunate to play for some great sponsors.  Even in D with Mike Cazalas running a top program.  Tommie Baugh was the one who gave me the opportunity to play at a higher level, and I will always be grateful for that. The original Klutch Brand guy I played with had the best chemistry I have ever been around.  Jarvis Chappell did a great job with CSI/Worth this past season.  Each one, as well as many others have helped me become a better player in their own way.

What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
As a player looking to get back into the upper level, I feel that is important to play hard all the time.  Being a good teammate is important.  No one wants a cancer on their team.  Play your game.  Don't get caught up in trying to emulate others.

What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
I use a 27.5 ounce with a slight overlap grip

What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
As a coach, I'm able to take ground balls with the kids at times.  Throwing BP helps keep my arm in shape, and hitting fungo helps just stay in swinging shape.  I lift year round 4-5 days a week, and like to play as much as possible during the off season.

What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
I'm a huge Cubs fan, and a baseball fan in general.  War Eagle is what I yell on Saturdays in the fall.

Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I put my batting gloves on the same way every time, and do the same warm up routine  before I walk up to the plate.  I don't take ground balls before a game.

What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys

What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Player safety should be looked at, whether it is adjusting the compression test number or adjusting the ball to protect the pitchers and infielders.

What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
The Smokey is awesome because of the atmosphere.

What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
The best natural fields is the fields at Disney.  They are well manicured with no lips and that's nice for an infielder.  Lafayette's complex is nice since it's remodel and the upstairs lounge around the oaks provides for a great atmosphere.

Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
I'm not picky, as long as there is cold beer there.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
I had the privilege of playing with Andy Urban so just about everything he does is hilarious.

Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
I am adopted

What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
I'm a huge Cubs fan.  As a kid my glove was autographed by Claude Passeau who was from my hometown.  He threw a 1 hitter in the 1945 World Series for the Cubs.  My mom bought me a photo from the 1945 season of Passeau that was also autographed, so that was really cool.

 

 

 

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