Smith adds son, Ernest to baseball roster

Tracy Smith was in desperate need of pitching help for this coming season, but he managed to find a couple of good arms in Bloomington, one of them coming from his own home.

Smith’s son Casey has decided to graduate early from Bloomington North High School so he can enroll at Indiana in January and play for the Hoosiers this season. Smith will also add Matt Ernest, a wide receiver on the football team, to the pitching staff.

“I think it helps us big time,” Smith said. “We have a couple of guys hurt,and we’re not quite sure where they’re gonna be. We’re just so young on the mound. Now, Casey’s gonna be a freshman and younger than our youngest guys. but we’re hurting with numbers. We only had seven healthy pitchers in the fall. If Ernest comes a long, he’s a guy who can legitimately throw 90 mile an hour, so he could help us. If Casey is in the mid-80s and his breaking ball is working than he can be serviceable out of the bullpen.”

The younger Smith decided in late fall that he would try to graduate early. He had actually taken college course on IU’s campus for credit already and he took a government course through a program with Indiana called IU High School online to complete the requirements for graduation.

“It was funny, we’d just sitting at the kitchen table,” the younger Smith said. “(Tracy) would come homeĀ  and talk about how some guys had left, and they’d lost people to some injuries. Then he made a joking comment, like, ‘Hey, maybe if you decided to come to Indiana, you could come this semester.’ And I got excited about it. I went into talk to my guidance counselor and found out how I could do it. I went in to approach (Tracy) and said, ‘I’ll really take you up on that if you really want to do it.'”

Ernest, meanwhile, was a four-year letter winner in baseball in Crown Point, Ind., and was itching to get back in the game after two years away from it. He appeared at tryouts in the fall. Smith said he saw him throw a few pitches, cracking 90 miles per hour on the radar gun and was sold.

“I said, OK, we’ll get through football season and talk about it later,” the elder Smith said. “But you have a spot in the spring if you want it.”

Said Ernest: “I was just going in there thinking it was going to be a fun thing to do for a day. I was surprised, because that’s four or five miles per hour more than I’d ever thrown in high school.”

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