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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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Mia Pappalardo
Pitcher James Smith signs his official commitment with Barry University on Nov. 15. Smith will be furthering his baseball career at the collegiate level starting in the fall of 2024.

Senior James Smith commits to Barry University

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity baseball pitcher James Smith officially announced his commitment to Barry University on Nov. 12. Starting in the fall of 2024, Smith will advance his athletic career as a pitcher at the NCAA Division II level of college sports.

Smith has played baseball for more than half his life. He played on multiple different teams: the Original Florida Pokers 2024, American Heritage and the MSD Eagles.

“I have been playing baseball since I was four years old, but I didn’t start playing competitively until I was seven,” Smith said.

During the commitment process, there are several factors that go into finalizing a decision. As a family-oriented person, Smith knew he wanted to stay close to home. Barry is located in Miami Shores, Florida, which is less than an hour away from Parkland.

“What made me pick Barry was the location since it is so close to home and the competitive conference they play in,” Smith said.

Toward the end of the summer, before his senior year, Smith faced an injury that was more severe than expected. After taking some time off from playing, his injury was not healing. Smith realized that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. On Oct. 11, Smith had Tommy John surgery on his elbow.

Before getting injured, Smith played day in and day out to push himself and his team to their full potential. Smith stayed determined and went above and beyond for his team.

“Over the summer, James pitched a lot for us before he ended up getting hurt, and he always pitched the best that he could,” center fielder Alex Rodriguez said. “He got us out of some tough situations, same thing during the spring.”

Although Smith was injured for longer than anticipated, he still persevered through the commitment process. His coaches and teammates highly anticipate his recovery and return to the field.

“When James comes back, obviously he’s a big part of our pitching staff, so the main thing for him is being healthy,” Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald said.

Smith’s predicted to return by mid-March, which still leaves time for him to play in the spring season. By then, he should be completely healed and back to his full mobility.

While at Barry, Smith plans to develop his pitching velocity and physicality. After college, he plans to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in sports management and hopes to play in the MLB in the future.

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About the Contributor
Mia Pappalardo, Reporter
Mia Pappalardo is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This is her first year on staff. She enjoys doing gymnastics, writing and spending time with her friends and family.  
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