For the seventh year in a row, a Catawba Valley baseball player has earned All-American status.
Sophomore pitcher Julian Smith (Concord, N.C.) was named an All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on Monday afternoon.
He’s the first pitcher in Catawba Valley baseball history to be chosen as an All-American.
“It’s a great feeling being mentioned with other good players from around the country,” Smith said. “Just like everything else this is a reflection of all the hard work that we put in leading up to the season, and I wouldn’t be here without the help and support of my teammates.”
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Smith, who was named a third-team All-American by the NJCAA.
On June 3 — just two days removed from celebrating his 21st birthday — Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 15th round (464th overall) of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — becoming the first-ever Red Hawk baseball player to be drafted directly from Catawba Valley.
After sitting out all of the 2017 season following Tommy John Surgery, the 6-foot-4, 192-pound left-hander bounced back in a big way this past spring for the Red Hawks.
In 14 appearances, Smith compiled a 8-2 record with a 2.51 ERA in 79 innings pitched. He gave up 51 hits, 29 runs (22 earned), 32 walks and struck out a single-season program record 130 batters.
The N.C. State signee went on to set another record for career strikeouts (181), and he tied the school’s single-season records for wins on the mound (8), which he shares with former Red Hawk and current Georgia Southern standout Cole Whitney (2017).
“I’m very proud of Julian,” said Catawba Valley head baseball coach Paul Rozzelle. “This is yet another special accolade for that young man, and it’s well deserved. This All-American honor is a testament to all of the hard work he’s put in here and the obstacles that he’s overcome during his career. It’s very nice to have our first All-American pitcher, and that’s all due to the hard work of our pitching coach Kris Harvey and the remarkable job he’s done our pitching staff.”
This is the seventh-straight year that a Red Hawk player has been named an All-American.
Smith joins Chandler Jenkins (2016-17), Ty Andrus (2015-16), Danny Sullivan (2014-15), Bryson Bowman (2013-14), Ryan Smith (2012-13) and Danny Fraga (2011-12) as Catawba Valley baseball players who were named an NJCAA All-American.
Catawba Valley baseball All-Americans
2017-18: Julian Smith, P
2016-17: Chandler Jenkins, OF
2015-16: Ty Andrus, OF
2014-15: Danny Sullivan, 3B
2013-14: Bryson Bowman, OF
2012-13: Ryan Smith, INF
2011-12: Danny Fraga, INF