Bailey Smaney is tough to read in the pitching circle.
The Bay Port senior right-hander’s calm demeanor makes it difficult to tell if she just made a strikeout or gave up a hit.
“She doesn’t let the other team know what’s going on in her head,” Bay Port softball coach Jenna Woepse said.
“She has the most composure I’ve ever seen out of a pitcher. I’ve said it from the very first time I’ve ever seen her pitch. That goes for college and everything.”
Seemingly everything has been clicking for Smaney and the Pirates through the early portion of the season.
Bay Port enters the week 10-1 overall and is the last undefeated team in Fox River Classic Conference play at 6-0.
Smaney (7-0) has made 50 strikeouts while allowing 11 walks and 20 hits over 42 innings pitched in fashioning a 0.667 ERA.
She was on a similar pace last year before releasing a curveball that ultimately threw a huge loop into her junior season.
“Right after that pitch I was done,” Smaney said. “I felt something and I knew it wasn’t good.”
A strained bicep in her throwing arm kept Smaney out of the pitching circle for about a month.
“She didn’t look like Bailey,” Woepse said. “She didn’t look like the fierce, dominating thrower that she is. She looked like she was struggling. She looked like she was in pain.”
Smaney returned late in the season to pitch for Bay Port, which finished fourth in the FRCC and lost 10-1 in a WIAA Division 1 regional final against Hortonville, who went on to advance to state.
“I came back, but I was a little out of shape,” Smaney said. “It was frustrating. But I knew I had to take my time out and sit because otherwise it could linger on into my senior year and any other ball I would try to play.”
It obviously hasn’t.
After enjoying a successful summer with her club team, Smaney signed a national letter of intent with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Smaney’s red-hot start this spring has included firing four two-hitters and a no-hitter in five innings against Sheboygan South last Thursday.
“She’s a good pitcher,” said Bay Port junior Ally Jacques, who was a second-team all-FRCC catcher last season. “She’s there mentally, too, not just physically.
“She’s really good at reading batters. She’s not afraid to shake off a sign that I give her if she wants to throw a different pitch.”
Besides Smaney’s pitching, Bay Port’s early success has been a credit to individuals being willing to play different positions.
Senior Alyssa Cooper has moved from right field to shortstop, while junior Sara Beekman has made the switch from the infield to center field.
Junior Abbey Mommaerts, who filled in for Smaney last year and earned honorable mention all-conference honors, has settled into spending a majority of her time at first base and being the team’s clean-up hitter.
“The whole team is unselfish because a lot of these girls are not playing their natural positions,” said Woepse, who is her second season as head coach. “I told them from the very beginning that you might not play your No. 1 position, but the top nine are going to be on the field, and we’re going to put you in a spot that is going to make the team win.”
If Smaney can continue to produce strong outings in the circle, the Pirates should be able to maintain their top spot in the FRCC standings.
“We’re just playing it one game at a time and hopefully we’re getting wins,” Smaney said.
“I always feel pressure, but I know our defense has been playing phenomenal, and I want to continue on throwing my best and hopefully my team follows.”