KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pembroke Hill senior pitcher and center fielder Marcus Smith committed to play collegiate baseball at Michigan last year. However, major league scouts have started to give him lots of attention ahead of the Major League Baseball Draft on June 3.
It's no surprise Smith could become the first person in Pembroke Hill school history to be drafted. He owns the school record in both career and season home runs (9), runs scored in a season (39), and stolen bases in a season (24). Currently, 28 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams have come to watch him play baseball at various points during his high school career. Making it to the big leagues may eventually become a dream come true.
"Playing professional baseball and just keeping [on] playing baseball has been my dream since I was probably 8 years-old," Smith said. "Just coming this far and working all these years and now seeing that it's starting to pay off and that I have this opportunity of making my dream come true, it's been a blessing and it's been awesome."
Depending on where Smith gets selected in the draft, the decision to continue going to college as opposed to playing professionally may be a tough one.
"I have no right to make those type of decisions by myself," Smith said. "The sacrifices and all that [my family] have made, I think that me leaving home and going [to play] professional baseball, or even to Michigan, I think that has to be a family decision. And, it will be a family decision when the time comes."
Pembroke Hill head coach Jeff Diskin has watched Smith play since he was in the sixth grade. Diskin has had the opportunity to help him grow within the game and seemed to enjoy watching how he's blossomed into a great player.
"The neat thing to see is people who work hard gain success from their hard work," Diskin said. "Marcus has done that. He's worked hard. He works on areas of his game that need to be improved. He's not one of those guys that just goes and works on what he's good at. He works on the areas that he needs to get better at."
It is certainly evident that Smith is the leader of the Raiders baseball team on and off the field.
Pembroke Hill is off to a solid start with a 15-3 record. Smith has helped them gain success this year on the field by his ability to get on base and make things happen on the base paths. He's tied for the school record with the most walks (60), some of which are him getting hit with pitches. He's also the leader that Coach Diskin wants and needs for his team.
"He's never ever gotten on a teammate [negatively] as far as a teammate [not] doing something right or strikes out or whatever," Diskin said. "He's very supportive. Marcus traditionally has been very hard on Marcus. And, the biggest amount of growth that I've seen this year is his ability to flush when things don't go maybe as well as he would like them to go. His ability to move on to the next play."
Smith credits his family for giving him the drive and support all those years to compete in baseball. However, he credits his coach for the increased exposure he says started coming his way during his freshman year.
"Coach Diskin with the baseball program, he's done everything for me," Smith said. "He's gotten me places I needed to be to get looked at. I owe a lot to him over these four years. Without all these scouts and all of [his help], this wouldn't be possible without my head coach."