When Delone Catholic High senior Brett Smith began playing sports as a child, he always dreamed of playing at the NCAA Division I level.
Smith's dream became a reality recently when he verbally committed to play baseball at Bucknell University. He has yet to sign his official letter of intent, but it will be signed once he finishes his application to the school.
"It is kind of a relief," he said. "It was like, 'Wow, I have made it'. I know it is going to be so much more work, though. I made it to this point, but now I have to put in even more work. That is what I keep thinking about, getting ready to play Division I baseball."
As a three-sport athlete, Smith excelled in football, basketball and baseball during his time at Delone.
Now that his college decision is over, Smith can focus on his senior basketball and baseball seasons.
"(Bucknell) is one of the top schools for engineering and I am going to get to play baseball as well," Smith said. "It was an easy decision."
Smith said representatives of a few schools watched him play football this season, but that he never received any serious interest from colleges. Delone basketball coach Jim Dooley tried to get his name out there to different schools, but the only serious looks he had came in baseball.
He received some interest from University of Maryland at Baltimore County, but it decided to head in a different direction, which then opened the door for Bucknell.
"I played in two showcases with the Rookies this summer with Parker Bean (a senior at South Western), and Bucknell was at one of those tournaments and saw me play," Smith said. "They heard that I had not committed yet and they decided to pursue me."
During the Squires' bye week before the District 3 Class A playoffs in football, Smith took a visit to Bucknell and loved what he saw.
"I had a tour of the campus and met some of the baseball players," Smith said. "I liked everything that was there, the campus and the guys on the team."
Smith, who plays shortstop for Delone, was recruited as an outfielder for the Bison.
"The coaching staff asked if I would be open to trying other positions if it got me into the lineup and I said yeah," he added. "I am thinking I will play outfield there, but if any other positions open, I would consider playing them."
Being able to focus on only one sport will be a huge, yet welcome adjustment for Smith, who has played multiple sports for as long as he can remember.
"I am excited to see what happens when I concentrate on one sport," he said. "It is exciting to think how much I can improve. It should be fun."
Last year Smith was named to the YAIAA Coacvhes' Division IV baseball all-star team. He hit .477 with 15 extra-base hits, including two home runs. On the mound, Smith went 4-0 with an ERA of less than 1.00.
He understands the challenge of hitting Division I pitching is a whole different animal.
"I will definitely work on my fielding and my arm," he said. "But I have to keep hitting and tweaking things to make sure that I am ready to hit and that I can hit that type of pitching. It will be an adjustment at first to get used to it."
The draw to baseball, which is played at a much slower pace than Smith's other two sports, was simple.
"I like the mental part of the game," he said.
Very apropos for a student-athlete who wants to major in engineering.
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