Bailey Smaney isn’t superstitious.
But one of the Bay Port senior pitcher’s biggest supporters is.
“(My grandma) is very superstitious,” Smaney said. “One day she brought me Jimmy John’s to school, and I pitched well, so every game day she would bring me Jimmy John’s to school.”
The ritual seemed to work because Smaney certainly delivered for her team this season.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recruit led the Pirates to their first WIAA Division 1 state appearance in program history by recording 152 strikeouts over 1461/3 innings pitched.
The Fox River Classic Conference co-player of the year posted a 0.63 ERA to help Bay Port win the conference title before going on to become the first area D1 team to advance to state since 2006.
For her efforts, Smaney is Press-Gazette Media’s softball player of the year.
“The thing that stands out most about Bailey is her composure,” Bay Port coach Jenna Woepse said. “She is one of the most composed pitchers I’ve ever seen. She knows the game really well, and she knows what she’s doing out there.”
Smaney went 18-2 in the circle this season to lead the Pirates to the state semifinals, where they fell to Westosha Central, which went on to win the state title.
“We worked really hard as a team, and I did individually as well,” said Smaney, who was one of two seniors on the team. “I think by not focusing on the big picture and taking it one game at a time like we had that was the best thing for us. We knew all our hard work in the offseason would pay off this year.”
After missing a large portion of last season with a strained bicep injury, Smaney returned as a stronger pitcher for her senior year.
She threw a complete-game shutout against conference rival Ashwaubenon in the Pirates’ 1-0 sectional victory. Smaney was able to retire the side in the seventh inning after Bay Port had scored the game’s lone run in the sixth.
“That was probably the most nerve-racking game of the season,” said Smaney, who had a .358 batting average with 13 RBIs. “I knew I needed to take my time, play my game, not get too nervous or worked up and stay ahead in the count. It was a big game for me and the team as well.”
Woepse said Smaney’s focus will serve her well as a college pitcher at UWGB.
“‘I got this’ was always Bailey’s response,” Woepse said. “She knew when she was struggling a little bit or needed to settle down. She’s just a knowledgeable player. She’s going to be tough to replace.”