Delaney Smith signs softball scholarship with Memphis

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Delaney Smith sits with family, coach and athletic director on Wednesday morning when she signed to play softball for University of Memphis. Left to right: back: Coach Leah Price, family membersGwen Smith, Valerie and Tony Castlen, Chris Suttles, Miki Suttles, & RCHS Micah Ruehling. First row, family members Emily Suttles, Maddie Smith, Amy Smith, Delaney Smith, Heath Smith and Cooper Smith.(Photo:GaryBolden/RheaReview)

Rhea County Lady Eagle Delaney Smith will play at University of Memphis

November 9, 2016

Evensville, TN —  On Wednesday morning, Delaney Smith sat down with her coach, family and School officials to sign a letter of intent with the University of Memphis to play softball for head coach Natalie Poole.  Also on the staff is Andy Lott and former University of Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe.

Delaney Smith plays center field and was selected Defensive Player of the year the last two years, as well as Player of the Year and All-District 3 years.  She is a dual threat in that she is tremendous defensive and offensive player.  A left handed slap hitter, she provides offense at top of the order.

Athletic Directory Micah Ruehling said, “It is a huge deal for a Rhea County student to to to College on a scholarship.”

“I think, standing beside me is one of the better athletes to every come through Rhea County, guy or girl.  Our weight training coaches talk about how good she is and how well she does on the agility drills.”

“I really anticipate really really good things as she moves on the next chapter of life.”

Memphis coach Natalie Poole said in a press realease, “Delaney plays the outfield already with the level of maturity that I expect of my players here. She moves well, and has a great arm. Offensively, she is a momentum starter and is a clutch hitter. She has so many similarities to my current outfielders that are successful in the field and are everyday offensive contributors to our team, so I am excited about what we will be able to get from her right away.”

As a junior, she finished the season with a .623 batting average with 40 stolen bases and 81 total hits.

 For her career at Rhea County, Smith is a .588 hitter with 210 hits, 147 runs scored, and a .989 fielding percentage. She is the individual record-holder for stolen bases at her high school

Delaney Smith said, “I went on five college visits, and they were great schools and they had great programs.  When I went out there, when we went out to eat lunch, they kept a strong faith in their team and I knew this was the right fit.”

“My favorite memory was when I hit my first(out of the park) home run.  I ran and tackled coach Price.”

“In fifth grade, I was going to camps and saw these college softball players and decided I wanted to be one.”

“I will major in communications/sports broadcasting/public relations.”

“I am looking forward to a new atmosphere and new town and getting close and making new sisters with the softball team.”

Amy Smith, Delaney’s mom said, “We are really excited for her.  A lot our vacations have been on the softball field.  We are very excited and we are going to try and get to see her as much as we can.”

Rhea County Softball coach Leah Price said, “I just want to say how proud I am of Delaney. When Delaney was trying out for middle school her seventh grade year I came to the tryouts to watch and help out. I remember seeing her in center field and she was so tiny. But I thought that little girl is a spitfire, as I have coached her these last 5 years there has not been a thing about her that has changed. The little fast and tough ball player that she was then is still true today.”

“She is one of the most competitive girls that I have ever coached. The kind of kid you want up to bat for you or want the ball to go to because you know she will give everything she has got. Along with her God given talent she has amazing work ethic. There was a period of time she was playing every weekend and asking me to come hit with her throughout the week. Delaney is a very special girl who will be very successful at the next level.”

“She has used The gifts God has given her and I’m excited to see what her future holds. I have never doubted her desire to play or her love for the game.  I have really enjoyed coaching her and it’s gonna be really hard for me to let this one go! I want to thank her parents also for all that they have done as I have been her coach. They have supported me as I have coached their daughter and they don’t know how much that means to me. They have worked very hard for her as well and I know she is very grateful for them. Memphis doesn’t get her yet though, I’m excited to see how this season will go for us this year!”

“One of my favorite times with Delaney was when she hit a home run. We were playing Warren county and on most occasions before the game Delaney tells me she is going to hit a home run. So about her 4th or 5th at bat she kills one over right-center fence. Her trot around the bases was probably faster than most people’s sprint but she could not control her excitement. So after the inning is over I’m walking towards the dugout to congratulate her and she comes sprinting at me and about tackles me jumping into my arms. Those are the moments that mean so much as a coach. The pure excitement and passion for the game is so special to see in a player. And I think that is how she lives her life also giving everything that she has to whatever she is doing.”

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