Two-Sport Athlete Smith Brings Spark to Stags Baseball

Last fall, Trey Smith
CM ’18 was snagging passes as a wide receiver for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
football team. This week, after a scorching start to the baseball season during which he went 15-for-30 over his first eight games, the right fielder landed a spot
on the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week.  

Smith’s
most impressive stretch came in the series against Pomona-Pitzer (8-3, 5-1
SCIAC) when he batted .700 in his ten at-bats. Despite the accolades, Smith
still remains grounded in enjoying the game he loves and trying to do whatever
he can to help his team win games.

Like
many other young athletes, Joseph Smith III (or Trey, as he is more commonly known) began
his baseball career with the encouragement of his parents. As his passion and skills grew, Smith focused
on improving as a first baseman. However, this changed during his senior year
of high school.

“My
coach wanted me to play outfield because he didn’t want to waste my speed at
first base,” Smith said. “So he put me in center field, and I’ve been playing outfield ever
since.”

This
transition to the outfield has worked in the long run as Smith now starts in
right field for the CMS baseball team (5-4, 4-3 SCIAC). However, Smith’s journey
to a starting position has been far from stereotypical.

“Football
was actually the team that recruited me,” Smith said. “They sent me an email one day, and I
hadn’t heard of the school, so I didn’t even look at it. My mom
then went through my emails and saw Claremont McKenna had emailed me, and told
me I had to look into it.”

Upon
arriving in campus in the fall, football was Smith’s central focus. Then, after
coming in third on the team in receptions, Smith discussed the possibility of
walking onto the baseball team with head coach Morgan Cummins. While
both arrived at the consensus that it was possible, Cummins rightfully didn’t
have very high expectations for a first-year walk-on.

“I
didn’t really know much about Trey heading into the season,” Cummins wrote in an email to TSL. “I figured he
would likely be a really athletic player who was raw and still needed to learn
how to play the game.”

Coach
Cummins could not have been more surprised with Smith’s production. In his first eight games of the season, Smith
went 15-for-30 and slugged a whopping .933 with two doubles, a triple and
three home runs.  

“[In] the
Pomona-Pitzer series, I really don’t know what happened,” Smith said. “I guess I just saw the
ball really well.”

However, this start has not come as a great surprise to those around him, including his
teammate on both the gridiron and in the ballpark, third baseman and outfielder
Robby Weissenfels CM ’18.

“As
an athlete, Trey is an animal,” said Weissenfels, who also played defensive back for the football team. “He’s a physical specimen that brings speed and
power to the plate and in the outfield. He also brings a passion to the team
that I’ve already seen rubbed off on all his teammates.”

Smith’s
coaches have been similarly impressed by Smith’s athleticism and competitiveness,
which he tries to model after Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig.

“Trey
has an athletic combination of size, speed, arm strength and bat speed that
will make him an intriguing player for scouts to watch,” Cummins wrote.

Given
his early success, it would be easy for Smith to become wrapped up in the
moment. However, Smith has avoided plateauing as he focuses on improving as a team and helping the Stags to their first
win.

“We
just have to find a way to get both strong pitching and batting in one game to
get a win,” Smith said. “As a team, we need to continue trying to become a
better team. It might not be this season, but I know we will figure it out and
get some wins.”

You
can catch Smith and his Stags as they take on Occidental College (7-2, 5-1
SCIAC) Feb. 28 in a home turf doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.            

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