Smartt gearing up for junior season

Published 3:00 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Trojan catcher and Troy native Chase Smartt is set to begin his junior season with the Trojans.

Smartt was one of just two players that started all 56 games. Entering his junior season, he is being looked to as a leader.

“It’s nothing different,” Smartt said. “I am going to stay the same. I am going to play the game and just lead the team. I’m going to do the same thing and play 56 games. I’m just going to do my thing and catch and be the leader on the team, talk with players.”

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Smartt did more than talking last season for the Trojans. As a sophomore, Smartt started every game behind the plate for the Trojans. As a catcher, he led the league by only having one passed ball. He ranked third in the league with 452 putouts and fourth with 16 runners caught stealing. At the plate, Smartt batted .254 with four homeruns, 10 doubles and 24 RBIs.

Chase will once again be able to lead with fellow Troy native and long-time friend Joey Denison after he missed much of the 2017 season.

“He is a leader,” Smartt said. “He is leader because he sets an example of doing everything the right way. He is a leader, him and Andrew (Crane), but he is more of the captain because he has experience. I am glad to have him back because now I have one more chance to play with him.”

This season, Smartt will have an opportunity to help lead and play with a friend in Troy native Rush Hixon.

“I have known Rush since we were little,” Smartt said. “I have seen how he is. I am very comfortable having him in the pitching rotation because I have seen him from the ground up. He looks like he is more comfortable here than anyone else.”

Smartt and the Trojans have two weeks until they open the season at home against UT-Martin. Until then, Smartt wants the team and himself to find more confidence.

“I’m looking for comfort and having more confidence in ourselves,” Smartt said. “We have the talent and everything else we need. Now we need to have confidence in ourselves to play.”