Trojans for lifePublished 8:48pm Friday, March 28, 2014
Smartt, Hartley right at home playing in front of familiar faces
Taylor Smartt and Becca Hartley don’t need to remind each other of the situation after every pitch, it just happens out of habit.
Smartt and Hartley currently hold down the left side of the Troy softball infield, at third base and shortstop respectively. About four years ago, the duo was in the same situation, albeit in different colors.
Smartt, as she is now, was the senior veteran. Hartley, the wide-eyed, ready-to-learn freshman. The duo was part of the Charles Henderson Lady Trojans in 2010. But even then, the duo bounced ideas and feedback on one another.
“We have always had a good relationship with one another,” said Smartt. “She knows me so well, and always seems to know say to me in certain situations. She knows how to handle things, and knows how to handle me when I get upset. She is definitely the more calm one.”
Hartley, who has started 31 of the 32 games played during her freshman campaign, said she is happy to have her friend with her during the transition from high school to college.
“It was definitely different from high school, because we play and practice more,” said Hartley. “I struggled with it at first, but it has been easier than I expected overall thank to my Taylor and the rest of teammates. Softball is our lifestyle, and we all love it.”
Troy has stumbled somewhat through the first month of the season, posting a 14-19-2 record. Hartley has held down the shortstop spot all season, but Smartt, like she did in high school, has seen numerous positions.
In her time in orange and blue, Smartt played four different positions. Since arriving at Troy, Smartt has seen time at seven of the nine positions. The only two spots she hasn’t played are pitcher and centerfield.
While some might see the task of playing multiple positions as a burden, Smartt likes the challenge.
“I really honestly don’t care where I am, I just want to be on the field and helping my team in whatever way I can,” said Smartt. “I have to credit to my dad (Troy baseball coach Mark Smartt) for making me work at every position and ‘cover all the bases.’ He taught me to not care about me, but to help the team.”
Both players remember their high school days fondly. Smartt played for Steve Haugh and Chad Lapp, while Hartley played the majority of her career for former Lady Trojan coach Robin Snyder.
“There were lots of great players, like Allie Park, Heather Snell and Claire Goodson, that I looked up to,” said Smartt. “The program is definitely on the rise, and I am so happy I was able to be a small part of it. Those days at Charles Henderson were fun.”
Hartley finished her career with CHHS last season, with a remarkable run to the state tournament. The state tourney appearance was the first for the Lady Trojans in several seasons.
“We may not have been the most talented players out there, but they taught us to work hard everyday,” said Hartley. “I’m a firm believer that anyone who works hard gets rewarded. That is what we did there, and what we continue to do here.”
The Troy Softball Complex and Charles Henderson High School are only a stones throw apart.
While a lot of college-bound students wish to move away for college, Hartley and Smartt consider their decision to remain at home and play the game the love as one of the best choices of their lives.
“I have wanted to play softball at the college level for a long time, and I can’t thank Troy enough for allowing me to do it,” said Hartley. “This team is one of the best teams I have been a part of because everyone really cares for each other. Coming to play at Troy is something I will never regret.”
Smartt echoed Hartley’s sentiments.
“Playing softball for Troy has been an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” said Smartt. “I have loved to be able to live our my dream and play Division I softball and compete against some of the best players in the world. I love being a part of this team and will always remember my time here.”
Troy plays host to Georgia State this weekend at the Troy Softball Complex on Elm Street.
The Trojans and Panthers will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday’s game is set for noon first pitch.