All Star Sports Week: Ranburne’s Smith, North knock off South
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Jul 15, 2013 | 2815 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTGOMERY — As the North All-Stars put everything together in Games 1 and 2 of the baseball portion of the 17th Annual All-Star Sports Week on Monday night, there weren’t many people that had a better view than Ranburne standout Mark David Smith.

Whether in centerfield or taking his turn sitting out a few innings, Smith was right in front of the action as the North beat the South All-Stars 6-0 in Game 1 and 13-5 in the second game.

“We had good pitching and some timely hits,” North and Thompson coach Pat Hamrick said. “There were a lot of errors and not a lot of earned runs, but we played together and had a great two days. We had a great time with them.”

The pivotal moment of excitement actually came during the only period Monday night the North was not in control. After five pitchers combined to only allow three hits in the first game, the South took advantage of errors to take a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning of Game 2.

It didn’t take long for the North to respond, however.

In the top of the fourth, the North put together four hits and scored a run. With the bases loaded, Most Valuable Player and Buckhorn star Kyle Wright hit a triple that cleared the sacks and gave the North a 4-3 lead. Two innings later, Austin catcher Peyton Miller hit a two-run home run to left field to extend the lead to 6-3.

“The mentality was high and everyone was up and in the game,” Smith said. “It’s really big on momentum.”

After the South cut the three-run lead to one in the bottom of the sixth, the North blew the hinges off the door in the top of the seventh, scoring seven runs to cruise to victory and take a 17-10-1 lead in the series.

“They were talking trash the whole time. When they started that we just knew we were going to have to beat them,” Smith said. “It was before the game and they were saying the North didn’t have a chance. It feels pretty good, we swept them.”

For Smith, the feeling after the game was how it should be for any rising senior, despite the Ranburne outfielder having a sluggish night at the plate, going 0-for-4 against four different pitchers.

“It’s hard to hit in a game like this,” he said. “I made good contact every time, they just didn’t fall.”

Smith flied out three times — near the warning track in right field twice — and grounded out once. He also recorded a putout on a fly ball in center.

For the two days in Montgomery that are more of an experience than just a game, Smith said what will stand out the most off the field was going to the Montgomery Biscuits game Sunday night, watching the Double-A players play on the same field he did the following night.

“We got to wear our jerseys and a lot of people were talking to us,” he said. “It was pretty cool.”

Although the sweep is complete and Smith headed back to Ranburne last night, there are still lessons he can take back home.

“A game like this shows you what you’re up against,” he said. “There was some really good pitching and overall just good players.”

Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.
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