TOS: Shi Smith Striking Up Competition Within Herself

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Photo via Seattle U Athletics

Junior Shi Smith is no stranger to school records, with her newest accolade being a record for the number of strikeouts in a game on Feb. 7. Against Northwestern University, Smith struck out 13 batters. On Feb. 21, she reached a new high—this time striking out 15 batters. Smith’s no-hitter is just the fifth in Seattle University history, but Smith plans on adding more as the season progresses. This is the second Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Pitcher of the Week award she has received and the third school record she has set.

MM: How did it feel to have such a big week, breaking the program record and winning WAC Pitcher of the Week?

SS: It’s really cool. I broke it last year and I’m a very competitive person. I’ve been working really hard, lifting a lot of weights and doing a lot of conditioning and pitching on my own both on and off the line. It’s good to see that my hard work is paying off. For the Pitcher of the Week it was really cool, I definitely didn’t even think about it. The other weekend was a great experience just because Oklahoma is one of the schools I look up to—it’s an awesome program.

 

MM: How did you get to that moment of being able to get that new record—do you do anything specific in practice or tell yourself something in particular?

SS: Yeah, I was very intentional with each pitch, not just by placement, but by mechanics as well. I actually had anxiety before the game that I could break the record. So I took a really deep breath and made sure that my body was calm. Then I told myself to keep my arm straight with my curveball, I told myself to just go for it…just little affirmations with each pitch.

 

MM: That makes sense. Do you have any routines for pre-game or during games?

SS: We play hacky sack with the team before games. I love doing that. It gets me amped. My little saying this year, and it is something I kind of live by, is “do what makes your heart happy.” So before an inning, I kind of dust off part of the mound and then I step back and with my pitching arm and draw half a circle because pitching is the other half of the circle. Being able to play the sport I love at such a high and competitive level is cool, because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity.

 

MM: I know for me as a runner, I have a special pair of socks for running. Do you have anything like that?

SS: I have to have the same person put my bow in. It’s really silly, but I do. I usually have to eat the same breakfast before games, so eggs and some kind of carb, whether that’s a pancake or a waffle and some fruit. I’m very picky about those things.

 

MM: How was Hawaii and the tournament?

SS: It was so much fun. Being able to experience it all with my team made this weekend what it was, which was awesome. We played against Oregon State University (OSU), and our starting second baseman, Stephanie Merwin, transferred from Oregon State to Seattle U. We both got to play in that game.

 

MM: It seemed like a pretty solid weekend. Did the team have ups and downs?

SS: Yeah, we did. Our big thing is we stay together. We live, breathe, work and LITM which is our new acronym here. We know to just go out, because anybody can be anybody on any given day. We go out and give 110% of whatever percentage, so if we only feel like 80%, we give 110% of that 80.