Two-time Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American Abbey Smith verbally committed to Auburn as an eighth grader and refuses to take her foot off the gas, despite having the next big step in her softball career locked down at such an early age.
“Verbally committing at the young age of 13 was stressful but relieving,” Smith recalls. “As a 13-year-old having to choose where I want to be in five years is a big task. I just had to believe in what my heart was telling me. I went to several different school camps and visited campuses, but Auburn felt right from my first visit there.”
The young athlete saw herself as an Auburn Tiger and did not turn back.
“I loved the coaches, the size of the campus, it had my intended field of study and I would be able to play against some of softball’s best players,” she explains. “After deciding that I wanted to be at Auburn, I was relieved. The part of choosing a school was done but I knew that I had to work even harder.”
Even though the weight of having to impress college coaches from various schools is off her shoulders, slowing down is not an option for Smith. She intends to make the most of the remainder of her high school and travel ball career.
“Some people that I know wanted to commit because they thought the pressure would be taken off them,” Smith says. “They are wrong. The pressure is on to keep your grades up, keep improving on your skills and to become a smarter player.”
Continuing to impress the coaches she has verbally committed to play for is important to the Austin, Texas native.
“I am motivated to work hard because I know that I have a lot that I need to improve on,” Smith says, understanding that they expect to see an even better version of herself. “The coaches are predicting how you will be in the future when they give you an offer. The Auburn coaches know that when I get there I should be a better and smarter player. I need to keep improving so I can be what they expected or better than what they expected I would be.”
Smith also knows that putting in hard work now can help get her in the Tigers starting lineup sooner than later.
“I just don’t want to be at the college and on the team.” she states. “I want to have a starting spot from freshman year. I have to work hard to beat out other players.”
Smith, who has been named District 14-6A Newcomer of the Year, as well as making the District 14-6A First Team and All- Academic Team, has put up numbers for Bowie High School that demonstrate how hard she has been working since verbally committing to Auburn.
Through 22 games this season she carries a .575 batting average, 46 hits, four doubles and three triples, all while stealing a perfect 19 bases on 19 attempts. In 17 games for the Diamond Sports Hotshots, she batted .537 with 22 hits and a double and a triple each.
The future Physical Therapy major hopes to become the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, make the SEC All-Freshman team and win the College World Series, as well as maintain an A average in all her classes when she does reach the next level. Beyond college, she aspires to represent the USA in the Olympics someday.
Smith, who has attended two Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryouts in addition to her two Pre-Season All-American appearances, views Softball Factory as a means to keep improving herself and gain the valuable input and insight that she is seeking as she waits to sport her Tigers jersey.
“She doesn’t want to sit still,” her father, Mike Smith, explains. “She sees Softball Factory as a way to keep grinding and see where she stacks up against other softball players across the country. She doesn’t want to be complacent.”
The coaches are another reason the young softball star continues her relationship with Softball Factory.
“The best thing about my Softball Factory experience was getting to work with some of the best coaches out there and working on fine tuning my skills,” Smith shares. “I also loved listening to Jennie Finch and other professionals talk at the Pre-Season event. They didn’t just talk about form and softball drills. They talked about the type of attitude players should have, being coachable and the good characteristics players should have.”
Softball Factory’s Senior Director Lea Ann Jarvis is one of those coaches who have had a positive impact on Smith’s softball career.
“Coach Jarvis is a great coach in many ways,” Smith exclaims. “She pushes all the players that come to the Softball Factory camps and the games. She doesn’t accept excuses. She expects you to listen the first time and just do it.”
For Coach Jarvis, the enjoyment of working with Smith is mutual.
“She doesn’t have to be coached on her effort and attitude,” Jarvis says, praising Smith. “She shows up everyday ready to learn, get better and make the game better. I have enjoyed working with Abbey and can’t wait to see her play at the next level!”