Junipero Serra High School Co-ed Catholic College Preparatory

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Serra's Smith Wave player of year

By Ron Guild, Sports Editor

Nobody paid a larger compliment to Serra High School slugger Dominic Smith than Cathedral coach Scott Pearson April 27.

Rather than letting the left-hand hitting junior outfielder/first baseman/pitcher do damage with his bat, Pearson had his pitchers give Smith the Barry Bonds treatment, walking him intentionally all four times he came to the plate in what resulted in a 10-7 victory that propelled the Phantoms to the Camino Real League title.

“We Bonds him,” Pearson said afterwards.

Few other methods worked as well as Smith put together his third consecutive spectacular year with the bat in leading the Gardena school to a 20-5 season and to being named the Wave Newspapers Player of the Year.

Already committed to USC and a likely high draft pick next spring, Smith compiled huge numbers for the Cavaliers.

He batted .551 (43 for 78), hit nine home runs, drove in 49 and scored 36 runs. His on-base (.644) and slugging (1.103) averages were great indications why Pearson was motivated to give him first base and minimize the potential damage.

Also selected the league’s MVP and to the All-CIF Division V team, Smith was the ace of the pitching staff with a 7-1 record, one save and 1.22 ERA. Smith, who tops out at 92 miles per hour on the speed gun, struck out 58 in 34.1 innings.

But it’s at the plate where Smith is making his mark.

An advanced hitter when he arrived at Serra as a freshman, he has three-year totals of 14 homers, 13 triples, 25 doubles and 126 RBIs. His career average is .504 (120 for 238).

He batted .597 with 36 RBIs during a freshman year in which the Cavaliers went 13-13. He batted .556 with 41 RBIs a year ago when they went 21-6 and reached the Southern Section Division V semifinals.

Wilmer Aaron played professional baseball for eight years and currently is a batting instructor for young players.

So when the third-year Serra coach says a pro career could be in the future for Smith, he has to be taken seriously.

In Aaron’s way of thinking, the left-hand hitting, left-hand thrower is the complete package as a baseball player.

“Dominic is a very special kid,” Aaron said. “He’s talented in terms of his defensive play around first base. He has some of the sweetest hands around the bag. He’s pretty solid in the outfield, he can pitch and he can even catch.”