Athlete of the week: Andrew Smith, Rogers, baseball: Crossing home

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Andrew Smith was one of the busiest and most productive Rogers athletes in a strong sports year for the Royals. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior made all-conference in football, hockey and baseball while finishing with nine letters, three in each.

Smith can look back at some nifty highlights — two football games at the Dome (and five catches for 62 yards in a win over Mahtomedi) his junior year, two section finals in hockey, a Schwan’s Cup title beating Mounds View at the Xcel Center last Dec. 28, and a four-hit game (double, triple, two singles) against Becker.

“It has been an honor to compete in sports at Rogers,” said Smith, whose RHS career is now over.

This swift, versatile performer helped Rogers win multiple championships in football and hockey. Baseball struggled (7-13) but he gets this honor in the spring after adding some stellar diamond stats to his gridiron and ice laurels.

Andrew Smith batted .397 and picked up the third all-conference award of his senior year. He was also honored in football and hockey. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

 

Smith banged out a .397 average (25-for-63) with five doubles, three triples, 14 runs and 15 runs-batted-in. After a brief tenure at third base he moved to center where his “pure athletic ability” made him a fine outfielder, said coach Brian Harapat. Smith also picked up a win and a save in two scoreless relief pitching stints.

Smith, who played first base and hit .330 as a junior, has a nice set of tools. “He has a strong and accurate arm, very good speed, natural hitting ability, and baseball instincts,” said Harapat, also lauding Smith’s attitude as a hard worker and natural leader.

In hockey, Smith started at forward two years on teams that won conference crowns and reached section finals each year. He was third in scoring on a 20-7-1 team with 16 goals and 27 assists as a senior, after notching 14 goals and 11 assists as a junior on an 18-9-1 team.

In football, Smith helped Rogers reach the Prep Bowl his junior year, catching 26 passes for 349 yards as the Royals went 12-1. Co-captain last fall on 9-2 team with conference and section titles, he intercepted seven passes at free safety and was leading receiver (25 catches, 337 yards, two TD’s) while his punt return and coverage work earned him conference Special Teams Player of the Year.

He was a “positive leader and role model,” said coach Marc Franz. “He was our main receiving threat but a very good blocker, too. On defense he has a good football IQ and made sure we were properly aligned. On punt return we could depend on him to catch the ball and get positive yardage.”

Smith will continue in football at St. Scholastica. “Football is my favorite,” he said. “It’s going to be weird not being on hockey and baseball teams any more, but  plan to skate as much as I can, like with pond hockey.”

THE SMITH SCORECARD

Andrew Smith

Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents, Terry and Rebecca; brother, Shane, 15; sister, Heather, 13 …. Sports: football, hockey, baseball … Academics: 3.5 GPA … College plans: St. Scholastica, football, accounting

Favorite stuff — Class: math, especially algebra … TV show: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” … Movies: “Shooter” and “Miracle” … Music: rap and country … Food: chicken … drink: Gatorade yellow … Teams: Twins, Wild, Vikings, LA Kings … Athlete: Calvin Johnson … Kickback activity: ping pong … Would like to visit: Alaska

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