Ronnie Smith was the winning pitcher for the Western Panthers in the 2012 IHSAA Class 3A baseball state championship game. (SJ photo: Dean Hockney)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —- The UAB baseball team announced that right-handed pitcher Ronnie Smith has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Blazers in 2014.

The 6-foot-7 righty from West Middleton, Ind., was outstanding on the mound during his junior season at Western High School, posting a 10-4 record and 1.83 ERA. Smith pitched a total of 93 innings, totaling 89 strikeouts, along with posting two complete game shutouts and two games where he surrendered just one hit.

“One of our goals going into this recruiting season was to sign a potential ‘Friday night arm’,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “In Ronnie we feel like we signed one of the biggest ‘sleepers’ in the Midwest and now have a young man that can potentially match up with the great arms we face in our league. He is winner who has succeeded in every sport that he has played. He led his high school baseball team to the Indiana State Championship. Ronnie played for Ty Calloway in High School who is a member of the Indiana High School Coaches Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, so he is well prepared for college baseball.”

Smith won four of the Panthers’ seven games and earned a save in another, en route to Western HS winning the Indiana Class 3A State Championship last spring. In the state championship contest, Smith fired five innings, yielding one run on three hits as the Panthers captured the 3A crown along with earning Second Team All-Mid Indiana Conference (MIC) accolades.

“Ronnie is a great athlete having excelled in all three sports at his high school which is a rarity in this day and time,” Shoop said. “He is a 6-foot-7 young man who will be a power right hand pitcher at this level. His arm slot reminded us of Dillon Napoleon, one the best pitchers we have ever coached.”

In addition to his success on the baseball diamond, Smith has been a standout high school football and basketball player as well. Smith is a three-time All-Mid Indiana Conference selection in football as a wide receiver and named to the 3A All-State team in his junior season. In 2011, Western HS captured the MIC Championship. Smith also holds the Panthers’ school record for touchdown receptions with 29

In basketball, Smith was a Second Team MIC selection as a junior and was a key member of the MIC Championship teams in both his sophomore and junior seasons

“We have worked hard to recruit young men who were both capable in the classroom and committed to earning their UAB degree,” Shoop said. “He is a great student and should excel both on the field and in the class room at UAB. Ronnie fits the exact mold of what we are looking for – a young man who can compete in Conference USA, who will be a model student and who will be a great role model off the field. We couldn’t be happier to welcome Ronnie Smith into the Blazer baseball family.”

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama Birmingham)

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