‘It means a lot to play where my daddy did’: Good Hope’s Kylee and Kyle Smith share bond on the field

L-R: Kyle Smith, Kylee Smith and Amanda Smith. (Courtesy of Amanda Smith)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – At the Smith household, playing for the Good Hope Raiders has become something of a family tradition and just one season into her varsity career, Good Hope’s Kylee Smith is putting together impressive performances that remind us of another Raider standout. Kylee’s father, Kyle, last faced the West Point Warriors in the 2009 Cullman County Baseball Tournament when he pitched a complete game shutout, racking up 12 strikeouts and allowing just two hits to lead the Raiders to a 1-0 win. This season, Kylee faced the Warriors in the JV Cullman County Softball Tournament Finals and tossed a shutout of her own, allowing just two hits and striking out six batters to help lead the Raiders to a 3-0 win.

“It means a lot to me watching her grow and develop into a strong athlete, both mentally and physically, especially coming from the same school I played for. It brings back some of my favorite memories of being on the field,” Kyle said. “We’ve worked her whole life for this. She started travel ball at age five with eight & nine-year-olds. She’s never been timid at all to step on the field, until this year. She got over that very quickly as the older girls showed nothing but love for her.”

Kylee came into her seventh-grade season with some big personal goals and she had fun chasing those alongside her teammates this spring.

“I’ve enjoyed everything about this season. From summer work to pitching in the county tournament, winning county and now starting on varsity as a seventh grader at pitcher or shortstop,” Kylee said. “That has always been a huge goal of mine. Softball is a big part of my life and this year has taught me a lot of patience, a lot of discipline and to keep pushing through the hard days.”

Kyle has enjoyed watching Kylee develop as a player and accomplish some of her goals this season. He sees some similarity in their games as well and is excited to see how much more she can accomplish in the coming years.

“One of her main personal goals as an athlete was to start on varsity in seventh grade. She’s now playing varsity as a pitcher and shortstop as a seventh grader. She has accomplished one of her big goals and is doing a wonderful job on the mound or at shortstop,” Kyle said. “Our playing styles are very similar. We are both quiet on the field, but we make big plays. Even if we are under a ton of pressure, we don’t let it show. We just perform and do our best. I’ve loved watching her grow and develop and cannot wait to see her five years from now as a senior.”

For Kylee, softball is already something she’s passionate about but playing for her father’s alma mater only adds to the experience and has created a shared passion for the two of them.

“It means a lot to play where my daddy did because he’s taught me everything I know about softball,” Kylee said. “Instead of lessons, he’s sacrificed so much and worked with me almost every day in our yard or the field since I was three years old. At age three I told him and my mom I wanted to play softball for Alabama when I got big. I meant it. So, they’ve pushed me hard.”

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