Every season the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team loses top notch talent. This season the North Stars will lose a handful of those players, one of them being longtime player Brandon Smith.
Smith has played the sport of baseball, pretty much since he can remember. His love of the game started with T-Ball, and has carried him through his final season with the North Stars. Smith joined the North Stars at the age of 14, and is now nearing the end of his final season in Havre as an 18-year-old, and recent graduate from Havre High. But just because Smith’s American Legion days are ending, Smith will be attending Glendive to play college ball.
While playing for the North Stars, Smith made most of his noise as one of the leagues’ top pitchers. He also saw a lot of time as the shortstop this season, and the teams’ center fielder last season. Last season was a huge year for Smith, earning Class A All-State honors as an outfielder and earning All-Conference honors as a pitcher.
Smith was also a major contributor for the Blue Pony varsity football and basketball programs over the last four years. And now he's looking to close out a stellar high school athletics career by helping the North Stars try and make a run to the state tournament later this summer.
Here's five questions with Brandon Smith as he and the North Stars head to the Northern District Tournament Thursday in Medicine Hat.
HDN: Did you have any different goals heading into your final season as a North Star?
Smith: “Yeah, I think I did this year. I really wanted to improve on my last year's performance, and just make myself better than I was last year. And my main goal this year is to make it to state. We have played well this year and beat everybody in the conference, so I really think that is a realistic goal this year.”
HDN: When you are in a jam, what is your go-to pitch, and why?
Smith: “It mostly depends on how the hitter is standing in the box, if he is far away, I will throw it outside, and if he is inside, I will throw it inside on him. But also, if he has been fouling off my fastball I will throw a curve ball. But my go-to pitch would have to be my outside fastball.”
HDN: With everywhere the team travels, who has the best concession stand food?
Smith: “Lethbridge gave us pizza, but yeah, that wasn’t concessions. I think I would have to go with Havre.”
HDN: Is it tougher to play early in the season with the extremely cold and windy conditions, or later in the season with the extremely hot and dry conditions?
Smith: “I think it is harder to play when it is colder because you can get numb. And you have to warm up longer to be ready, plus warm up again if you get cold.”
HDN: Now that your high school athletic career is winding down, what are your plans?
Smith: “I got a scholarship to go to Glendive and play baseball. They are going to have me pitch, and are considering putting me in the outfield.”
Havre begins district play Thursday at 9 a.m. against Lethbrigde.