Former Seahawk standout speaks about life in the minors

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

Former UNCW baseball pitcher Adam Smith was selected in the 14th round of this year’s MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. After five appearances for San Diego’s rookie-affiliate, Arizona Complex League Padres, Smith owns a 1-1 record with a 1.80 ERA.

“Draft day was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Smith said. “On day three though when I got selected, it was a sigh of relief and a very exciting moment in my life. I’ve spent 18 years of my life preparing and getting myself to this moment and seeing it all pay off is very accomplishing to me.” 

In 2021, Smith made the transition from UNCW’s bullpen to the starting rotation. After the move, Smith shined, finishing the season with a 6-1 record, 2.49 ERA, and was a second-team honoree in the CAA. Now, Smith focuses on a new transition.

“There isn’t really anything to adjust to from playing at UNCW to playing in the minors,” Smith said. “UNCW has prepared me for this lifestyle. The coaching staff at UNCW gave us very similar itineraries for practice every day and worked us just as hard as we do now. But I definitely miss hanging out with my teammates and miss being with all my friends.” 

Smith’s minor-league debut came on Aug. 6 when the former Seahawk pitched for just one inning. Since then, Smith has struck out 11 batters in 10 innings and has seemed to settle in nicely with his new team out west. 

“The day that I made my debut for the ACL Padres was definitely nerve-racking at first,” Smith said. “But once it got closer to game time, I got locked in and went to work. My debut went by in a flash, throwing only eight pitches and facing only three hitters, but once I got that first appearance out of the way, I haven’t felt that nerve-racking feeling anymore.” 

At just 20  years old, Smith has all the potential in the world and plenty of time to develop. Watching him play at Brooks Field, the right-hander always drew a crowd. Whether it’s a bullpen role or solidifying himself in the starting rotation, Smith is sure to be a big asset to an MLB team one day.

Spending just two full seasons with UNCW, Smith shared some words of wisdom he would give current and future Seahawk players:

“My advice to the current/incoming UNCW baseball players would be to cherish every moment,” Smith said. “Baseball is a long season, but you don’t realize how fast it’s going until it’s over.”