The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

June 23, 2012

Joplin's Kealin Smith plays in Sunbelt Series

Joplin High School baseball coach Kirk Harryman is hoping Kealin Smith will make solid contributions the next two seasons for the varsity Eagles.

Smith is hoping that playing for Team Missouri in the 16th annual Junior Sunbelt Series recently in Oklahoma is a step in the right direction to reach that level.

The right-handed Smith, a 5-foot-10, 165-pounder, relieved in two games and played five games in the outfield.

“I was pleased. I feel like I played well,” Smith said Friday. “I was brought in to pitch in the fifth inning against Team Colorado with us trailing 7-1. I escaped a jam by getting a double play and finished with 2 2/3 hitless innings. We scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning and we scored four in the seventh to win 8-7.”

Smith said he didn’t fare as well against Team Texas.

“I came into the game with us leading 5-4 and I walked two batters in a row,” Smith said. “I was removed from the game and wound up taking the loss (when the Team Missouri reliever allowed another runner and a grand slam home run).

“I believe I was only 2-for-11 at the plate with a two-run double,” Smith said. “I made contact and didn’t strike out much.”

Smith said he secured a berth on Team Missouri with his performance during a tryout at Warrensburg.

Team Tennessee finished 10-0 in the competition for a second straight season and made it 29-1 for three years.

Tennessee had the classic most valuable player in 6-5, 205 catcher Will Haynie (Brentwood Academy). He averaged .450, hit two home runs and drove in 11 runs on just nine at-bats.

Tennessee had the most valuable pitcher in 6-1, 180 right-hander Hayden Stone of Columbia Central. He was 2-0 with a save and didn’t allow an earned run. He struck out 14 and didn’t walk a batter in 10 2/3 innings.

Smith said Richard Wood was the director for Team Missouri. Smith said the staff included Sedalia Smith-Cotton coach Jeff Mays.

“Hopefully, this all will help me for next season,” Smith said.

Said Harryman: “We expect Kealin to be big part of the next two years. It isn’t just as a pitcher, either. We also look for him to push for time swinging the bat. We may place him in the outfield.”

Richard Kealin, the son of Jennifer and Dusty Smith, is playing this summer with the Wichita-based DeMarini FORCE coached by Kraig Schenker and Matt Klusener.

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