Every Monday night for the rest of the high school year, our sports staff will name a Sentinel Athlete of the Week featuring one area athlete who stood out in competition.
This week we select Mechanicsburg softball's Erica Smiley after a sensational four-game performance for the Wildcats.
In four wins last week, the senior Saint Vincent recruit finished 9-for-14 with four runs, a double, four home runs and 13 RBIs. That included a three-homer, six-RBI game against Carlisle, then, on her 18th birthday, another home run and another six RBIs against CD East.
And that's just half of it.
On the mound, Smiley went 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA, including a five-inning perfect game with four strikeouts against Bishop McDevitt. There was also a four-strikeout, scoreless relief appearance against Susquehanna Twp. in which the Wildcats rallied from an early deficit to win.
Overall this season, Smiley is batting .610 with five doubles, seven homers and 30 RBIs, while on the mound she's 10-2 with a 2.15 ERA.
Q: What are your keys to success as a softball player?
A: I would say that my key to success is to continue loving the game regardless what happens. I couldn't imagine not playing softball. As long as I work hard, that's all that matters.
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of your sport?
A: I enjoy just hanging out with my teammates doing spur-of-the-moment things.
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?
A: My dream job would be an alternative education teacher in an early education setting.
Q: Who inspires you the most in life?
A: My parents are the two people that inspire me most in my life. Without my mom's constant support, I would be completely be lost. And if it wasn't for my dad, I would never be half the person and player I am today.
Everything I know about the game of softball came from him, and I am unbelievably thankful he has been there for me the entire step of the way — even when he has to drive three hours back from a business trip three times a week just to see me play.
Q: Which common saying or phrase describes you?
A: "Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game" is one quote I would say I live by because, if you are scared of trying or never try, then how are you supposed to become who you are and do big things?