Emily Smith is proud of her achievements at Valley City State University.
The Portage product was unhappy with the way her senior season of softball ended noting they lost in a very confusing fashion. Her squad made it to the league finals and had the game end in a very weird situation, Smith explains the scenario.
“There was a runner on second base for us and we were down by a run. The girl up to bat had a full count and she kept fouling pitches off,” says Smith. “She swung and said it hit bat but the call from the umpire was that she swung and missed. The ball was on the ground and she didn’t have a chance to run to first base, with the third strike rule. So, it just a little weird because you don’t see that call very often.”
This cost Smith and VSU a spot at the national championship, however, she still had an unbelievable career. The pitcher gave up just 53 hits and 21 earned runs in 132 innings on the mound. She ended the season with 228 strikeouts and shut out nine teams. The Portager also broke two school records over her for year career, those being total wins as she had 67 and total strikeouts, ending with 601. She talks about having her name in the record books.
“It’s exciting because people look up records, as they are meant to be broken, and they’ll be able to see my accomplishments,” says Smith. “It took a lot of hard work in all those games and took a lot of wins from our team over the years. Hopefully, people just remember the great season we had.”
Smith had to overcome a very tough obstacle to have such a successful senior season in an ACL injury. She outlines her journey back to the mound.
“It’s an extremely frustrating recovery process, especially since I tore it in the United States and I had to come home for surgery which took a lot longer,” Smith explains. “It took a lot of hard work and it was hard to see results right away but last summer I was able to play in a league in Portage. That really helped me get back into it, being able to play a few games before college. In my first game, I was shaking uncontrollably on the mound and the first two balls I threw were wild but after that, I settled in and had a good outing my first time.”
Smith adds this was a 12-month recovery process for her and notes it was extremely satisfying to come back and continue to play at the same level.
The pitcher says she was very unsure of where softball would take her before Valley City State University. She describes the most important lesson she learned at VSU.
“I gained a lot of confidence,” Smith says. “Coming from Manitoba, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to play college softball. I wasn’t looking to be recruited because I didn’t feel like I was good enough to play. So, the Valley State community gave me a lot of confidence.”
Smith says she is extremely thankful her team was one of the few in the league to have no players or coaches test positive for COVID-19. She adds it was amazing to be able to finish out her senior season through the pandemic.