BASEBALL'S SMITH NAMED A FINALIST FOR TOM WALTER AWARD
August 16, 2012
MARTIN, Tenn. – Carter Smith, a rising sophomore on The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team, is one of 10 national finalists for the Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award, College Baseball Insider announced today.
A left-handed pitcher out of St. Louis, Mo., Smith was born without a right hand and emulates former Major Leaguer Jim Abbott on the mound. The Tom Walter Award recognizes examples of inspiration in college baseball and is named after the Wake Forest head coach who donated a kidney to freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan prior to the 2011 season. The recipient of the award – in its second year of existence – will be announced on Aug. 21.
“Anytime a guy is mentioned in that type of company and for these types of reasons, it’s really overwhelming,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “If you were to describe Carter, the first thing you would mention is that he always has a smile on his face. He’s just a real special character and for him to be a finalist is really neat.”
Smith got off to a blazing start last season, winning his first three decisions – including his collegiate debut against Butler on Feb. 25. In that game, he tossed four shutout innings – allowing only one hit (a bunt single). He also notched victories against Christian Brothers on March 20 (three shutout innings, one hit allowed) and against Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech on March 25 (career-high five strikeouts, two runs allowed in five innings).
The 6-2, 180-pound southpaw ended his season on a tear, hurling four scoreless outings while not walking a batter in his final five appearances for a 1.50 ERA. In four of his seven starts, Smith allowed three or fewer earned runs.
Smith’s competition for the Tom Walter Award includes Hunter Brister (Western Carolina), Mike Danaher (Binghamton), Marty Gantt (College of Charleston), Nino Giarratano (San Francisco), Ty Godfrey (Monmouth), Mike Kent (Clemson), Alex Silver (Texas), Tanner Vavra (Valparaiso) and Colby Wren (Georgia Tech).
Last year’s inaugural recipients of the award were Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor and Arizona State outfielder Cory Hahn, both of whom were paralyzed during games in the 2011 season, and Bayler Teal, a 7-year-old boy whose battle with cancer inspired 2010 and 2011 national champion South Carolina, was also awarded.