SOFTBALL PITCHER Allison Smith Champion

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When your team is a defending state champion, get ready to face your opponents’ best efforts.

“Definitely, we had a target on our back,” Champion sophomore pitcher Allison Smith said. “Nobody in the Champion lineup stepped into the batter’s box against a second-string pitcher. Everybody faced every team’s best and everybody was out to get us.”

None succeeded. The Golden Flashes went 31-0, capturing their second straight Division III crown.

Smith (16-0) shared pitching duties with classmate Sophie Howell (15-0).

“I respect Sophie for the great pitcher that she is,” said Smith, who committed to Ohio State when she was a freshman. She said they didn’t mind sharing, citing how Ohio’s spring weather creates a busy makeup schedule.

“The games are so pushed together, that there is no way just one of us could have [pitched all].”

Smith said the Flashes’ unbeaten streak that dates to 2017 provided motivation.

“You don’t want to be [responsible for] the team’s first loss,” Smith said

Smith started playing coach-pitch at age 5, “but softball was not my favorite sport. Growing up, I loved soccer.”

Things changed once she started pitching at age 8 when she was playing travel ball (Valley Extreme) with girls two and three years older. Smith said she wasn’t intimidated.

“I take failure as learning from your mistakes,” Smith said. “I was always the youngest. When [older teammates] would move up, I would move up.”

This summer, Smith is busy playing softball with the Columbus-based Ohio Lasers. Her other varsity sports are golf and basketball.

Her favorite subject is math and she credits Darlene Slater, her third-grade teacher, for inspiring her.

“She’s the reason I love math,” Smith said, citing quizzes where the fastest were treated to a sticker and Jolly Rancher. “I would go home and study my timetables.

“All my teachers this year were phenomenal, but back in the day I had legendary teachers,” she said.

Tom Williams

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