High School Standouts: Chilhowie’s Smith’s love for baseball fuels All-State career

CHILHOWIE, Va. (WJHL) – Chilhowie graduated senior Connor Smith has been breaking in a mitt since his early tee ball days.

“That’s probably about four or five [years old],” he guessed.

And the list of what he loves about the game is pretty extensive.

“Everything – hitting it, throwing it, catching it,” he explained. “I love baseball.”

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He’s not the only ball player in the house, either. His dad grew up playing just up the road for the Marion Scarlet Hurricanes, while his mom proved to be a softball standout for the Warriors in her day.

Smith still recalls the impact they had on his early years in the game.

“My mom always taking me out in the front yard,” he said. “Throw me baseballs, throw a baseball with me, just hit me ground balls, whatever I wanted. She was there for me always.”

That front-yard practice paid off by the time he got to high school, as he earned a spot right away on the varsity squad.

“My freshman and sophomore year – I was All-Nothing,” he joked.

But ‘All-Nothing’ turned into All-State first baseman as a junior and senior – for one simple reason.

“I just put in a lot of hard work,” he said. “I always want to be the best version of myself. I want to be the best at everything I do. I’m a natural-born competitor.”

Smith has seen the Warriors prove they’re the best in Region 1D in three of the last four seasons. It meant four-consecutive trips to the Class 1 state tournament.

“Like it says on the front of our warmup shirts at the games – excellence is the standard,” he explained. “We come out here and we hold each other accountable.”

By doing the little things this year, Chilhowie made a return trip to the Class 1 state championship game. They finished runner-up to a tough Rappahannock squad in walk-off fashion, as the year closed with a 23-4 mark.

Still, Smith says that wins are only part of the great memories he’ll always carry with him from his time on the team.

“Having great seasons – just having fun coming out here with my guys and just having fun,” he repeated.

Smith’s last game as a high school player will come at this month’s Virginia Baseball Coaches Association’s (VBCA) Senior All-Star Game in Richmond on June 19.

But, his playing days will extend well beyond this summer, as a member of the Milligan Buffaloes.

“It’s definitely sad to leave my friends and coaches here,” he said. “They’ve been here for me, always. But, I’m excited for the next chapter.”

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