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Tahoma High graduate signs letter of intent to play baseball for University of Tennessee
Tahoma High graduate Taylor Smart signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Tennessee on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Smart, a sophomore at Western Nevada College, plays second base.
According to information provided by WNC, he was named to the Scenic West Athletic Conference First Team last season.
“Smart hit in the two hole for most of the season and was in the top five for theconference in on-base percentage and walks,” said Head Coach DJ Whittemore. "Taylor has really grown in the past year and a half as player, person, student, and leader. His growth is a big reason our team is confident heading into the 2012 season."
During his first season at WNC Smart added nine stolen bases and 34 hits.Russ Hayden, his high school coach at Tahoma, had nothing but praise for Smart in an email interview.
"If any kid I have ever coached deserved to get a D-1 scholarship, it is Taylor," Hayden wrote. "I have watched Taylor since his older brother, Ryan played for me. Ryan was a 2003 graduate who I coached during summer ball from seventh grade in 1998, making Taylor about 10 years old. While we played games or had practice, Taylor would be off to the side of the field taking ground balls from his dad, Dave, or playing wall ball by himself working on his fielding."Smart's work ethic continued when he got to Tahoma High."
During his high school years, Taylor did everything we asked of him as a coaching staff and more," Hayden wrote. "After every practice or game, Taylor would go to Rock Creek Sports (which is run by his father) and take a few more rounds of BP. During the off seasons through high school, Taylor was a fitness freak. He couldn’t get enough of the weight room, speed training camps, and good nutrition. I don’t think Taylor is the most athletic player I have ever coached, but he did more with his body size and ability than any of the others. If I could coach a team of guys with Taylor’s drive, we would have a shot at the state title every year."
Smart was the leadoff hitter for the Bears when he was a junior and senior while playing shortstop.His senior year, Smart hit .438 with a slugging percentage of .822.
He had 32 hits, including 13 extra base hits along with five doubles, one triple and seven home runs.