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Smith signs with West Georgia
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Since Raven Smith was three years old, she’s been working on her softball game. Finally, on Friday afternoon in the commons area at Alcovy High School Smith’s hard work was rewarded as she signed her letter of intent to play softball at the University of West Georgia.

“I’m so very proud of her. She is the most grounded 17-year old girl I’ve ever met. Things come out of her mouth and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ She’s so wise beyond her years and I’m just extremely proud of her,” Lisa Smith, Raven’s mother, said.

“Vindication, I guess,” Marcus Smith, Raven’s father said when asked what Raven’s signing day meant to him. “It’s finally something to show all the hard work, all the sweat, everything. It just finally came in to showing that she finally accomplished what she set out to do. She’s vindicated for everything."

Raven had her choice of schools, but the visit to UWG sealed the deal for her.

“When I went to visit it was just a family environment. Very welcoming, open and I just loved the campus and the coaches and everybody,” Raven said.

“I never thought this would really happen,” she added. “The process took forever. It was so stressful, but now, signing it’s just so exciting. I cannot wait to go to college. It’s awesome I’m so ready.”

At a young age, Lisa and her husband Marcus Smith discovered Raven had excellent hand-eye coordination. One day at the tender age of three Raven picked up a tennis racquet and her father tossed her the ball and she hit it, hard.

“He was like, ‘Hmmm let me try that again.’ So he tossed it again, and she hit it again,” Lisa said. “We just kind of started playing with it from there and she just had a natural ability and then with all the hard work it made her a great ball player. Not only is she a great ball player, she knows the game. She gets it. She understands the game. She’s awesome.”

“He’s [her father] worked with her since she was three years old. Raven started playing ball when she was four. She has worked so hard, her and her daddy constantly working every single day,” Lisa said. “Coach Emory [Johnson], Kalia’s [Johnson] grandad, he worked with them since they were five years old. [He] taught her how to slide, taught her things that five and six year old shortstops don’t do. He said, ‘She can do it.’ She’s worked hard so she deserves every single bit of this.”

Marcus says he realized Raven had talent when she was eight years old.

“Playing rec league, she was making plays that a normal eight year old wouldn’t make, and that’s when we decided to see where that talent leads her,” Marcus said.

“Fundamentally, Scott Moseley, Emory Johnson deserves a lot of credit as far as [her development]. Fielding the ball, her form, arm strength, knowledge of the game they put forth a whole lot of work in that so I would say that’s the whole growing process. Her maturity level over the last year or so has gotten a whole lot better too,” he added.

Raven says she plans to become a physical therapist and that she’s excited to get started in college.

“I want to do well playing of course and I want to do well in my major. I’m gonna major in biology so I’m looking to start in that well and continue doing that,” she said.

For the first time in 14 years, Raven won’t be playing with her friend and partner-in-crime, Kalia Johnson. The two have been playing together since they were four.

“I wish her the best in college,” Raven said. “It’s been fun at Alcovy, but I’m looking forward to my new chapter at West Georgia.”