Sports

Somers Grad Looks to Thrive at Division I Albany

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After a season at Dean College, Somers alumnus Brendan Smith is transferring to the University at Albany to play baseball. Credits: Photo Courtesy of Brendan Smith
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Brendan Smith, a 2015 Somers graduate, was a starting pitcher at Dean College this past season and is transferring to the University at Albany.

How is college baseball different from high school?

College baseball was a huge time commitment compared to high school baseball. Going along with that, finding the time to balance my academic and athletic commitments was a challenging adjustment for the first couple of weeks. Also, the traveling aspect of college baseball was much different than high school. In high school, most of our opponents were in the same county, whereas in college, we had multiple mid-week games in different states. Obviously, the competition was tougher in college, but that is to be expected. Thankfully, all my coaches through the years, especially the last few, helped prepare me to play baseball in college.

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What personal goals did you accomplish this past season?

This year, I accomplished my personal goals of earning a Division I scholarship, committing to a Division I program and earning a spot in the conference rotation. As a team, we accomplished the first of our three goals, which was to win the regional championship, but fell short of our second goal, winning our district tournament, and ultimately, failed our final goal of winning the NJCAA D2 World Series.

After playing your first year at Dean College you will be transferring to the University at Albany. What do you think your role on the team will be?

The Albany coaching staff and I have discussed my role briefly, and right now it is still undecided what role I will play for the team, but our talks have centered on me being either a starting pitcher or a late-inning reliever.

What do you most look forward to about next year’s team?

I am eager to fulfill my dream of playing Division I baseball, and competing against some of the best competition in the country. I’m also anxious to build on the success of last year’s team at Albany, which made it to the semifinals of the America East Conference Tournament.

What changes do you think you will need to adapt to next season?

The biggest adjustment I will need to make for next season is playing a longer season than I have ever experienced.       At Dean, we played 44 games, while Division I schools play upwards of 50 games a year.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?

My favorite postgame activity at Dean was eating in the cafeteria with my teammates. There was never a dull moment when I was around them.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My parents. They both work hard to provide for me and my brother and have passed on the value of hard work to both of us.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

I am an avid collector of baseball cards. I have thousands in my basement, including a couple of complete-year sets.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

When he was still playing, I loved to watch Jorge Posada, and I always wanted to be a catcher like he was. Now, Jake Arrieta is my favorite pitcher to watch; that guy is ridiculous.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

Believe it or not, I love to listen to 2000s Pop Radio on Pandora, especially when Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne songs come on. It helps me relax before I pitch.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I don’t enjoy long car rides, so being able to teleport from place to place would eliminate that.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

From what I’ve heard, Italy is beautiful and I would love to try the food there.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

I don’t like to eat too close to the start of a game, but I usually have a light sandwich and some fruit a couple hours before first pitch. After games I love to have some BBQ chicken mac and cheese.

Best place to eat in Somers and why?

Froggy’s. Doesn’t matter whether I’m grabbing breakfast from the deli, or a slice from the pizza side, those guys never disappoint me.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Twitter because there is always something new on there. It is also very convenient for any breaking sports news.

For a young athlete growing up in Somers, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the baseball program and why should they go out for the team?

Some of my best memories as a child, and some of my longest friendships, have come from playing baseball in the Somers community. From T-ball to the varsity level, all the coaches involved make playing baseball for Somers an enjoyable learning experience. At the high school level, playing for coach Mike Watson and coach Joe Wootten has brought me a wealth of baseball knowledge, and two lifelong friendships.

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