Brad Smith is smart enough to know who to thank after a year in which his already demanding sport pursuits increased with his debut selection in the NSW Country baseball side. “In a nutshell, I’d like to sum the year up as lucky. Lucky my wife is so understanding haha,” the City United skipper wrote in a text to The Leader.
Smith, 30, seems to attack life: have fun, sure. But if you’re going to do something, do it with purpose.
A primary school teacher at Newling Public School in Armidale, he “loves” his work and finds it “very rewarding”.
On the home front, he and his wife, Amber, have a 14-month-old son, Harlan, and share their home with his stepsons, Gabe and John Harris.
On the sports front, City United lead the competition, after building on their breakthrough season in 2017-18, when they made the finals for the first time in more than a decade.
With another year set to tick over, Smith has reflected on a “fun” past 12 months – making the NSW Country baseball side a highlight.
Playing first and third base, as well as hurling right-hand pitches, he is a late baseball bloomer, having focused on cricket as a junior.
Joining him on NSW Country’s tour of North Queensland and Europe were two other standouts from this region, the veteran John Warren and Brock Ridgewell, a West Tamworth quick.
After the trio competed at the June Baseball Carnival at Tamworth, they travelled to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef Baseball Carnival, which they won, before flying to Europe to play exhibition matches in Germany and then compete at Prague Baseball Week. The tour lasted three weeks.
On the downside, Smith experienced back-to-back grand final losses with the Armidale Outlaws this year.
Still, he said “it’s been a good year all round of enjoyable sport”. “I’m really happy with the direction my baseball is going, and feel like the work I’m putting in is playing off.”
Smith is a hard marker of himself. Although City United have elevated their form this season, winning six straight matches before losing their final game ahead of the Christmas break, he expects more of himself.
“I’d like to stand up for the boys in the back end of the season and produce a few big scores like I did last year,” he said, adding: “I’m really happy with the direction City is heading.”
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