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CLAYTON COUNTY BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rodney Smith, Mundy's Mill

Mundy's Mill infielder Rodney Smith hit a team-leading .587 and scored 27 runs for the Tigers this past season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Mundy's Mill infielder Rodney Smith hit a team-leading .587 and scored 27 runs for the Tigers this past season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

The baseball season concluded in Clayton County with no team making the postseason, but several individual players had solid, productive seasons. Among the array of talented players in the area, seniors Danyale Brimer of Lovejoy and Mundy’s Mill’s Rodney Smith stood out for their performances on the diamond. The two players headline a talented all-county team as the top pitcher and players in the area.

On Smith

Vitals: Was named the Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year by the region coaches. He played the outfield, shortstop and second base this season for the Tigers. He hit a county-leading .587 with 12 RBI and 37 hits as the team’s lead-off batter. He also scored 27 runs and was 22 of 23 on stolen bases. Smith had 10 doubles and four triples this season.

Why Smith: He was perhaps the most versatile and productive player in the county. At the start fo the season, Smith was moved to the lead-off spot to keep teams from pitching around him. Because of knee surgery, Smith missed his entire junior season. In the three seasons that he has played, he made all-region and all-county each season.

Others considered: Kahari Richards of Drew; Danyale Brimer of Lovejoy.

What was the highlight for you this season?: “It had to be going 4 for 4 against Ola. Before the game, I challenged myself to have a good game. I was a home run away from hitting for the cycle. I was trying to make it happen. Up until that point, things were not going well for me at the plate. I challenged myself and my teammates to do better.”

How did you improve this season?: “I played a lot looser this year. I didn’t feel like I had that much pressure on my throughout the season. This season was a lot of fun for me. I really improved as a fielder. I didn’t have as many errors as I did as a sophomore. I would take fielding aftr practice and on the weekends.”

What was your biggest challenge?: “I was a little concern at the beginning of the season after missing my entire junior year. I was wondering if I would be able to see the ball as good being away from the game for a season. It was a big challenge to get back into baseball, and pick up where I did as a sophomore.”

What’s next: Smith will attend Minnesota on a football scholarship as a running back this upcoming school year. He also has a shot going high in next week’s Major League Baseball Draft.

Coach Patrick Smith on Rodney Smith’s season: “It was a heck of a way to end his high school career. He is onsidered one of the top players in the state. As a dad, I’m really proud of him and everything that he has been able to do.”

Coach Patrick Smith on Rodney Smith’s career: “Rodney has been around the game all his life. He use to be the bat boy for the team. He has overcame a lot of hurdles to get to where he is now. Not only was he a good football and baseball player, but also a good student. He helped change the culture around the school.”

QUICK HITS

Favorite TV show: The Big Ten Network

Favorite movie: The Wood

Favorite food: Hot wings

Favorite place to spend time: Weight room

Most listened to song in iPod: The Man by Aloe Blacc