Lyndi Smith stands at the chain-link fence. She watches as her brother walks up to the batter’s box in one of his high school games. Growing up in Uvalde, about an hour and a half west of San Antonio, this was a regular occurrence for Smith, as it was one of the main reasons she fell in love with baseball.
“I have been playing since I was five years old,” Smith said. “My brother played baseball throughout middle school and high school and I really looked up to him. I just started playing and really found a lot of passion for the game. I wanted to be a part of something more and softball filled that place in my heart.”
Playing softball has always been second nature for Smith and it’s also one of the main reasons she found herself at ACU, where she would become one of the best hitters to come through the program.
“I came to ACU for a tryout my senior year of high school and took a look around the campus and knew this was the place for me,” Smith said. “I wanted to be far from home but not too far and ACU was the perfect fit for me. It was just one of those feelings where I knew it was right and I went with my gut.”
This year, Smith is hitting .323 through 40 games and is one of the league leaders in several offensive categories. In the Southland Conference, Smith is fourth in runs batted in (36), tied for fourth in home runs (9), sixth in total bases (77) and ninth in slugging percentage (.592).
“My expectations coming in every year are usually two things: I always want to be better than the year before and most importantly, I want to be the best that I can be,” Smith said. “My success in hitting this year has come with maturity in the game. I put forth extra time hitting outside of practice and I understand the game better than I ever have. Hitting is so mental and after playing for four years, I’ve learned to just relax and take it one pitch at a time.”
The move from the Lonestar Conference to the Southland has been relatively smooth for Smith. As a Div. II player, Smith achieved a spot on the third team, All-Lonestar Conference her sophomore year and then earned second-team honors last year.
“I think the difference between Div. I and Div. II is pitching,” Smith said. “That has been a hard thing for us to adjust to, both our pitching and other teams’ pitching. It’s really just a faster-paced game but it has increased the challenge for us and I think we have held our own. I think through this transition year, the younger girls have grown and matured and this team will be really great in the years to come.”
Throughout her time at ACU, she has been the Wildcats’ cannon from behind the plate and takes defense as seriously as offense.
“The most exciting part of the position is that I am involved in every pitch,” Smith said. “The relationship between a pitcher and catcher is very unique and it feels really good to be a part of something like that. The most difficult thing is to remain focused and not carry offense over to defense and vice versa.”
As the Wildcats near the end of their inaugural season as members of the Southland Conference, the team has had plenty to review in efforts to play at their highest possible level.
“The team’s greatest strength this year has definitely been hitting,” Smith said. “We have one of the best hitting teams in the conference and everyone on the team is always willing to help others and make extra time to come in and hit. As a team, we have a great understanding of the game and what we should be doing offensively.”