McDowell Titan pitcher Matt Smith will get the opportunity to play baseball at the next level as the senior recently committed to play at Division III Guilford College in the spring of 2019.
Smith is the first McDowell Titan baseball player from the current senior class to have secured a future home after this upcoming season.
For him, the process really kicked in over the past few months, after he attended a camp at Guilford and got to perform in front of the coaching staff. His outing resulted in an official offer from the program, something that the senior felt he couldn’t turn down.
“I felt like that I really connected with the players and the coach while I was down there getting to know them,” said Smith. “Once I got an offer from them after performing in a tournament, I took advantage of the opportunity and committed. The campus itself has a small feel to it, there’s like a 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.
“It’s a homegrown kind of feel in regards to sports and everyone knowing each other, which is something I really liked.”
Smith also considered other smaller programs such as Greensboro College, North Carolina Wesleyan and Methodist before making his recent choice. He will be attending Guilford in pursuit of a Criminal Justice degree with a minor in Political Science.
After progressing through the junior varsity ranks his freshman and sophomore years, Smith was used primarily as a short-inning reliever and occasional starter in non-conference games as a junior, and in that role posted respectable numbers for the 14-12 Titans.
In 10 appearances, he carried a 2-4 mark, posting a 3.77 ERA in 29 2/3 innings pitched. With the top two pitchers from last season departed due to graduation, his role will increase significantly in 2018 as he will be the most experienced pitcher on McDowell’s roster when the season begins.
Smith was second on the team behind senior starters Canaan Silver and Zach Franklin in innings pitched, starts (6), wins, strikeouts (30), ERA and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched, 1.45).
The Titans went 14-12 in their final season as part of the Mountain Athletic 4A/3A Conference. McDowell is now a member of the Northwestern 3A/4A.
Guilford College is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. In 2017 the Quakers posted a 22-17 record overall but a 9-11 mark in ODAC league action, finishing in seventh place. The 2018 Quakers team will return an experienced group including a total of six seniors and five juniors from last season’s roster.