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The highest compliment an athlete can garner is that he or she is a fierce competitor — one that has to be reckoned with for the entire game by the opposition. This athlete has a zeal and passion for the game and an unquenchable thirst for winning.
These are the athletes people remember for a very long time and are talked about long after they have moved on.
This season, the West Chester Henderson baseball team won the Ches-Mont League National Division championship for the second season in a row and finished with a sparkling 23-3 record and advanced to the second round of the PIAA 6A playoffs, after placing second in the District 1 6A tournament.
The main man for the splendid season was senior Eddie Smink, who excelled both the plate and on the mound for the Warriors.
Smink competed the entire seven innings and was the key antagonist for opponents. Smink batted .365 with 22 RBI, three home runs and banged out 20 hits. When pitching, Smink compiled an 8-0 regular season mark with an earned run average of .075 and 92 strikeouts in 46 innings. It is for these lofty accomplishments that Eddie Smink is the Daily Local News Baseball Player of the Year.
“Eddie has great baseball instincts,” West Chester Henderson coach Luke McNichol said. “He is confident, tough and he loves to compete. He comes to compete for the whole game every game he is in.”
Smink was the one Henderson player that opposing coaches and players felt they had to deal with when the Warriors came up on their respective schedules. The Warriors finished in the top spot of the District 1 6A playoffs and were circled on every opposing team’s calendar.
“Eddie is not only extremely athletic, He is also a tremendous competitor,” Downingtown East coach Pete Susi said. “In our first game against Henderson this year he beat us by himself. Henderson beat us 2-0 and Eddie threw a one hitter and hit a two run homer. He was always a player you had to prepare for when they came up on the schedule.”
The Warriors star will attend Stony Brook University next fall and he will play baseball there. But Smink was the ultimate three-sport athlete while at Henderson. Smink was the starting quarterback for the Warriors’ football team and was also was a starter for most of the season for the Warriors’ basketball team, which advanced to the second round of the district playoffs.
“I think playing three sports really helped me for baseball because it really got me to use different muscles,” Smink said. “I also really enjoyed playing the three sports and I feel it made me even better in baseball.”
Smink also was the emotional leader for the Warriors’ baseball team, making it a mission for the squad to advance to the PIAA playoffs after falling short of the state playoffs in his junior season. Smink never talked about his own lofty accomplishments, preferring to talk about his team and their goals.
“We really made it a point to work hard every day in practice,” Smink said. “We wanted to go further than we did last season and we learned a lot from last season and we felt we fell a little short our goals last season.”
Smink made a mark on Henderson baseball and also the Ches-Mont League. He was one of the most accomplished and diversified players to ply his talents on the baseball diamond in years. Smink will be remembered as a total team player who gave it his all every single time on the field.
He will always be remembered as the ultimate Warrior.
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