For Texas State pitcher Austin Smith, his 2022 season has been incredible. Getting to pitch in multiple NCAA regional games against storied programs was a dream come true, but the journey hasn’t been smooth.
Originally from Abilene, Smith was a baseball and football star growing up. Even in noisy environments, his biggest supporter made his presence known.
“Usually the only person I could hear in the whole stadium was my dad,” Smith said. “Everything else was muted, but I could still hear my dad saying ‘Let’s go 1-5’.”
Smith went to Ranger Junior College after high school but encountered obstacles. After just two appearances in his first season, Smith was injured in the second year. The southpaw then had a chat with the man who knew him best.
“I told my dad on the phone one night. I was like, I have enough confidence in myself to be able to go back to college in a semester, and I can bounce back to where I want to be.
After that third season with the Rangers, Smith found a home in San Marcos. His first season with the Bobcats didn’t go as planned with the team struggling. Earlier this year, Austin’s father, Brad, passed away.
In the 2022 season, Austin has had a much better run, and so has his team. The southpaw closed out the Bobcats’ first NCAA Regionals victory under the watch of his father.
“I know he’s still there. When I do things like I have to do for the first time in a regional game and I’m in probably the coolest atmosphere I’ve ever been in, it’s hard not to think of your dad. Just be like, hey man, I know you’re not gonna look at this physically, but I know you’re up there just going crazy.
Smith finished the 2022 season with a 2.91 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 19 appearances. He plans to return to the Bobcats for a third season next spring.