Smartt eager for senior season with hometown Trojans

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Troy native and former Charles Henderson Trojan Chase Smartt is ready to begin his final season with his hometown Troy Trojans.

Chase Smartt was always destined to play for the Trojans after coming out of high school. Despite being drafted by the Atlanta Braves, Smartt stayed home to play for his dad, head coach Mark Smartt.

After three years, with the Trojans, Smartt hopes to close out his Trojan career on a high note.

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“I am looking forward to having a good year,” Smartt said. “I hope to have a good relationship with me, Rush (Hixon) and my dad with the Troy bond. I think this year is going to be more important because it’s my last year in Troy I have been 18-plus years and it should be a special one for me and my family.”

Smartt and the Trojans are looking to build off last season when they finished runner-up in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. They went to the Athens Regional where they won their first game over Duke before falling in their next two.

“It was an awesome experience,” Smartt said. “We knew we were good and we had talent. One thing about our team last year was we were so competitive. Athens was so much fun. We have some players that got some experience last year, now we are trying to carry it over to this year’s team.”

Troy made a trip to the regionals for the first time since the 2013 season. They are looking to make back-to-back trips for the first time since 2006-2007.

“I think we will find out on opening day how we are going to be,” Smartt said.

Smartt finished last season with a .204 batting average, down from .254 the season prior. He had 21 RBI and one homerun. Behind the plate, Smartt had a .989 fielding percentage.

Heading into his final season, Smartt hopes he can take strides at the plate like he has behind the plate as a catcher.

“Separate hitting and catching,” Smartt said. “My catching has always been good. I need to start spreading the ball, hitting to the opposite field. Mainly I want to communicate with everybody, coaches and players, to build relationships on the field.”

Building relationships, especially with pitchers, is near the top of responsibilities for any catcher. Smartt will have to get used to a new rotation this season after Darren Osby and Andrew Crane are gone. The bullpen will no long feature Corey Childress and CJ Carter.

“It’s fun getting to know new people,” Smartt said. “I am pleased because they listen to me and my experience from catching three years here.”

Smartt will be one of four seniors on the roster and will be looked at to be one of the leaders.

Smartt and the Trojans will begin their season on February 15 when they host Central Michigan in the first of a four-game series beginning at 6 p.m.