Extra Inning Softball is honoring those athletes across the country who have dominated at the high school level including the fall seasons in states like Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as those who have competed this spring and summer.
Last week we featured the 1st Team All-Americans by position and on Monday we wrapped up the extensive lists with the 2nd Team All-Americans.
Yesterday we revealed who is the National Player of the Year and today conclude our 2019 high school honors with the National Coach of the Year... here's how to find all the previous selections:
2019 HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICAN TIMELINE
- Monday, July 8 – Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-Americans (Pitchers)
- Tuesday, July 9 - Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-Americans (Catchers)
- Wednesday, July 10 - Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-Americans (Infielders)
- Thursday, July 11 - Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-Americans (Outfielders)
- Friday, July 12 - Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-Americans (Multi-Purpose)
- Monday, July 15 - Extra Inning Softball 2nd Team All-Americans
- Tuesday, July 16 - Extra Inning Softball High School Player of the Year
- Wednesday, July 17 - Extra Inning Softball High School Coach of the Year
Those chosen as All-Americans and Player & Coach of the Year have been selected based on the following factors:
- accomplishments, stats and honors
- importance in the success of the team
- on-field abilities, skills & talent
- off-the-field resume, i.e. academic success, community involvement, etc.
Our list is the deepest and most researched you will find as we feel it necessary to honor all those who deserve to be recognized as an Extra Inning Softball High School All-American and National Player & Coach of the Year.
Congrats to all those who made this year’s lists!
Extra Inning Softball High School Coach of the Year:
Kelli Smith (Baylor School, Chattanooga, Tennessee)
If Kelli Smith, the head softball coach at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, had a batting average reflecting the state titles she has won since becoming that school's head coach in 2003, she'd be knocking it out of the park at a .687 clip.
Translated, that's 11 state titles in 17 years and since this year's championship came with six new starters after Smith lost a talented senior group from the year before, that's why she's the 2019 Extra Inning Softball National High School Coach of the Year.
The Red Raiders won this year's Division II-AA state title with a 2-1 triumph over city rival Girls Prep School. They also ended 39-4 overall and were No. 26 in the final Extra Elite Eighty national rankings.
One of the reasons Smith was able to overcome those graduation losses from the year before, which included University of Florida's Cheyenne Lindsey, was the arrival of freshman Sydney Berzon, an Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-American (Multi-Purpose) honoree. She pitched a five-hitter in the state final and drove in both runs on a two-run single in the third inning.
Making the season even more special for Smith is that on April 19 she won the 500th game of her coaching career when Baylor notched a win against Riverdale of Murfreesboro.
The victory against Girls Prep also gave the Red Raiders their fifth straight state title and their eighth in nine years.
To be official, Smith's team's have won state crowns in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The years that her teams didn't win state titles is a shorter list: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014.
Before coaching at Baylor, Smith was a student and softball player there.
Two of the teams she played on won state championships, too. According to her profile on the school's website, Smith was a two-time all-state player before heading to Georgia Tech on a softball scholarship, but her playing career ended with a shoulder injury.
She later graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and not long after began coaching at her alma mater.
As her team was celebrating after winning the state title in 2016, Smith was interviewed by a local TV station:
"Look there. That's why it doesn't get old right there. That's why it doesn't get old. Those girls right there. That's why I do it. It never gets old. But each team every year no matter how long they are apart of our program, each team is unique and special."
We think Kelli Smith is pretty unique and special, too. And she can now add National Coach of the Year to her resume.