Following in his brother’s footsteps just two years before him, Northeast Jones baseball standout Mason Smith signed with Pearl River Community College on Tuesday. Brother Miles Smith did the same in 2017. After two successful years with the Wildcats, Miles signed with South Alabama in the early part of 2019.
“It’s a blessing,” said Mason Smith. “I’ve always wanted to play college sports, especially college baseball. And to follow in my brother’s footsteps is a great accomplishment.”
Smith, who began his varsity career in ninth grade, led the team in three significant categories - runs scored (39), on-base percentage (.575), and stolen bases (26).
"Mason has been a huge asset for us ever since the ninth grade," said NEJ head baseball coach Jeremy Parker. "Last year, he was a key pitcher for us. He was also our leadoff hitter. He had a great on-base percentage, scored a lot of runs, and stole a lot of bases. This year, we're looking for more help from him on the mound and at the plate.
Smith is also known for his defensive play in the outfield.
"He's developed as a great outfielder for us," said Parker. "He's had several outfield assists. His tenth-grade year, and last year, he developed into a great arm from the outfield. It has enabled us to throw some guys out [on the bases and home plate]."
As a junior, Mason's at-bats did more than produce hits and RBI.
“His ability to get on base by drawing walks and hit by pitches really helped us,” Parker added. “He hit .244 for us as a sophomore, but last year he was able to eliminate more of his strikeouts and draw more walks. He’s a kid that seems to be a magnet to the ball. He was hit by 16 pitches last year.
“And when he got on base, he was a catalyst for us. If he got on base to start the first couple of innings, he usually scored. He runs them well.”
Smith finished his junior season with a .351 batting average and 26 base hits in 74 bat-bats and 113 plate appearances. He also batted in 17 runs on top of the 39 runs he scored himself.
"There's a lot to improve," said Smith, regarding the upcoming season. "But I'm going to enjoy the season and not take things for granted. I want to go out big, but not worry too much about the pressure."
Watching his brother play two years at PRCC factored into his decision to sign with the Wildcats.
"What their building down there since [I first saw] in 2017 is special," said Smith. "They have newer facilities, and they're improving as a whole. The atmosphere there played a lot in my decision to go to PRCC."