Former Pitt-Bradford Panther and baseball alum Derek Smith
has reached an agreement with the Gary Southshore Railcats of Gary, Ind. The
Railcats are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional
The organization is an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox
minor league system. Smith signed a one year contract in the hopes of securing
a starting role at either third base or catcher.
Smith first received an invite from the Railcats for a
tryout in August when his coach from the Cape Cod League spoke with the
Railcats organization about one of his former players. Smith received the call
in late October and then signed his contract in late November.
“I am very excited to receive the offer and become part of
the Gary Southshore Railcats organization,” said Smith. “The first person I
called was Coach Butler. He was very excited for me and it meant a lot to speak
to him. I have received a lot of support from family and friends and I hope I
can use this opportunity to further my career.”
The left-handed infielder enjoyed a stellar two-year career
in a Pitt-Bradford uniform. He spent the majority of his first season covering
second base. In 2012, he opened the year with a 5-for-5 performance at the
plate, recording a double in all five at-bats against Dickinson. He drove in three runs and crossed the plate
twice in a one point defeat.
Smith went on to lead the Panthers with a .482 batting
percentage. He drove in a team-high 57 runs and cracked seven home runs, also
good for first on the squad.
In 2013, he was off to another fast start, batting .667 in
his first two outings. He settled into his new role at short stop and also
spent time as the designated hitter for a stretch of five games.
His best performance came against Hilbert on April 17, when
he went 4-for-5 at the plate and drove in an eye-popping 10 runs. He also
crushed two home runs and went on to touch home twice himself in a 31-4
Pitt-Bradford head baseball coach Bret Butler knew it was
just a matter of time before Smith would receive an opportunity to continue his
“I am very excited for Derek and this opportunity he has earned,”
said Butler. “Words cannot describe how proud I am of him. His next goal will
be to sign with a major league club. Derek Smith is a great ball player and I
was fortunate and privileged to have been his college coach.”
The Gary Southshore Railcats are currently in the offseason
preparing for their upcoming 2014 schedule. Smith is home in Jersey Shore, Pa.,
where he is working with a personal trainer and strength coach to prepare him
for his next step.
“Being a rookie, I plan on doing whatever it takes to earn a
starting role,” said Smith.
The Railcats return to the diamond in April when they report
for spring training in preparation for Opening Day on May 15, against the St.