Congratulations to Isaac "Ike" Smith (FUHS, 2017) for continuing his academic pursuits and college baseball career at Ohio University - Lancaster. The Cougars of Lancaster participate in the Ohio Regional Campus Conference (ORCC). The ORCC is an independent sports organization founded in 1973 to serve the athletic teams from regional campuses of large state universities including Ohio University, Ohio State, Akron and Miami. It is a very competitive league and teams often supplement their ORCC schedules with games against Junior Colleges and NCAA Div III teams.
Going to college and playing baseball is a big deal for anyone, and Post 11 is very proud of Isaac and happy for him. He has certainly worked hard and deserves it!
Isaac played for Post 11 for a total of 4 years, 3 years at the Senior level and 1 at the Junior level. He contributed to the team's success on the mound, at the plate, in the infield, and in the outfield as part of the infamous 'No-Fly Zone'. Isaac "Sargent" Smith, along with Lance "Private" Phillips, Michael "Commander" Crist, and Tyler "Lieutenant" Lanning patrolled the skies, became the pitching staff's best friends, and helped land Post 11 two consecutive 3rd place finishes in the Ohio American Legion State Tournament in 2017 and 2018.
During the 2018 season, Isaac stole a whopping 30 bags in only 35 games, which landed him in the 2nd place spot on Post 11's leader board for single season stolen bases, behind only Timmy Graham at 35 stolen bases (LHS, 1989, Post 11 87-89; Boston Red Sox, 16th round, '89). It also landed Isaac in the 3rd place spot for career high stolen bases. Isaac hit .332 for his career with Post 11.
Isaac is one of the fortunate baseball players who's birth-date allowed him to play American Legion Baseball at 19yrs old, after he'd complete his freshman year in college. When asked about this, Isaac said, "It gave me more confidence when pitching in big games for Post 11. I got to pitch against 22 year old guys in ORCC. It was a big help because there is a lot of really good competition in Legion Baseball." It also works the other direction - a high school student who gets to play against a 19 year old heading into his sophomore year in college - to give a high school player confidence to play at the college level when they get to face competitors who are already playing at that level. It creates a very competitive and developmental dynamic.
Isaac was an example on the field and in the dugout, always giving everything he had to the team and always cheering on his teammates. He showed up early to games and practices, and left late. Isaac was exemplary in his attitude and work ethic, especially when it came to arm care. Isaac never had to be reminded to run, stretch and to complete his bullpen work to prepare himself for his next start. His work ethic and care permeates even Isaac's academics, as evident with his 3.75 GPA at OU-L as he goes into his sophomore year. It is also evident in his continued participation with Post 11 activities. Isaac attends fall practices and fall games, continuing to help younger players in their development. He genuinely enjoys being with the team and is enjoyable to be with.
Below is an interview with Isaac on his decision to go to college and to play college baseball. It's a great read. You'll quickly see Isaac's emphasis on dedication, relationships, team, desire - qualities he exhibited while playing for Post 11.
Here is a link to Ohio University - Lancaster. Check it out: https://www.ohio.edu/lancaster/studentlife/baseball.cfm.
Which college do you attend?
-Ohio University Lancaster
What is your major?
-Communications with a related study in sports management
How does it feel to go to college and to play college baseball and why?
-It feels like a dream come true because I have also wanted to play in college.
What is your favorite thing about the college you chose and why?
-Small class size because I like the more close and personal with the professor.
What do you feel is your biggest contribution to your college baseball team?
-I feel like I bring a lot of heart and desire to the field.
What have you learned about your coach? And, how did you go about getting to know him and his staff and what they expect of a team member?
- He is just really approachable and cares a lot about his players.
What do think is the most challenging aspect of college baseball?
-I feel like the most challenging aspect is either reading the baseball at the plate or having the terminology and knowledge to know what to do on the field.
What is the biggest thing you carried forward from American Legion Baseball to your college career?
-The will to compete every day. The season is long but give it your all every day.
What advice would you give other ball players going through the recruiting process and considering a college baseball career?
-My advice would be dont worry about the money aspect; find a spot that you like and go for it.
What was the first thing you did when you arrived at campus each year?
-Honestly go to class because my classes are early.
Feedback - how many 'all nighters' did you pull in your freshman year studying for exams?
-Twice but they were for finals.