Now, she is truly in a class all by herself.
Smith won her 500th career game as softball coach at Calhoun on Saturday, when the Lady Jackets defeated Prince Avenue Christian, 4-3, in their third game of the Score International Tournament at Gordon Lee.
The win total started back in 1986 when Smith took over as softball coach and continued through the change from slow pitch to fast pitch softball. Smith is the only coach in the state to reach the 500-win mark in the sport.
“Individually, it was a win like any other victory,” said Smith. “I would not be honest if I said getting to this plateau was not a big thrill. It has been a long but exciting journey. All 500 victories are wrapped in one big ball. I have been thrilled at how many of my players from the past have emailed me and expressed their great pride in being a part of the 500 wins.”
The win on Saturday morning came in large part to a triple by Shanta McDaniel to drive in the winning run. It was McDaniel’s second hit of the game. Taylor Kelly also had two hits.
Alyssa Shawgo was the winning pitcher, going all seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out eight. She also had two hits and two RBIs at the plate.
That win was the first of three on Saturday at the tournament for Calhoun (14-10), so Smith now actually stands at 502 wins. The other two wins later in the day came over North Murray, 4-2, and Mt. Pisgah Christian, 7-5. Shawgo was the winning pitcher in both of those games, as well, and had two hits against Mt. Pisgah. On the mound, she gave up two runs on three hits while striking out four against North Murray, and allowed four hits against and struck out one against Mt. Pisgah.
McDaniel was the offensive star against North Murray with two hits. Bree Walraven had three hits against Mt. Pisgah, and Blair Robinson and McDaniel each had two.
On the first day of the tournament on Friday, the Lady Jackets went 1-1, with a 3-0 win over First Presbyterian Day and a 3-2 loss to Buford. Shawgo was the winning pitcher against First Presbyterian Day, and Taylor Kelly had two hits, including a double, in the win.
In the loss to Buford, Carly Curtis had two hits and two RBIs, and Robinson and McDaniel had two hits each.
Smith said she never thought when she won her first game as head coach against Red Bud in 1986 by a 10-3 score that she would ever have this level of success in her future.
“I did not dream in terms of 100 wins, let alone 500,” said Smith. “I was young with a 1-0 record. Five hundred wins was an eternity away. I am thankful for the opportunity to coach at my own high school and put this record on the books.”
Smith said the chance to coach Calhoun for all these years has not been something she’s taken for granted.
“The opportunity to coach at Calhoun High is a great honor to me,” said Smith. “For 27 years, I have taken the team to the field for some of the best competition in north Georgia and the state. I have been blessed with some very talented players over the years, and they have responded in a wonderful way to what has been asked of them. Yes, the success experience has been a thrill for me and for them. Again, hearing from so many of them since the news broke of the 500 victories has warmed my heart.”
The 4-1 record at the tournament over the weekend comes on the heels of a win over Mustang (Okla.) on Thursday at Gordon Lee. In that game, Shawgo was once again the winning pitcher, allowing five hits and striking out three.
McDaniel and Curtis each hit two-run homers, Raleigh Fitch had three hits, and Walraven had two hits. In the last six games, McDaniel has been on a tear, with ten hits.
Smith said her team is right where she wants them to be at this point in the season after facing some tough competition early.
“Our performance at the tournament last weekend, winning four of our five games against outstanding competition was the reassuring factor that we were on the right road,” said Smith. “Now, our region schedule begins and as for my expectations, I expect us to win the region championship.
“Our girls have been playing solid defense and hitting the ball in a most impressive way, and Alyssa Shawgo has improved and matured so much as a pitcher since last season. We have won 10 out of the last 11 games. Just hang on. We are going to give our fans a ride.”