Creating 'Chaos': Blue Springs South's Elle Smith ready for senior season before heading to Indiana
Elle Smith earned a new nickname this summer.
Smith, the Blue Springs South all-state outfielder who has signed with Division I power Indiana, enjoyed a stellar summer with her Top Gun 18U national team and enjoyed an especially spectacular tournament in Mississippi, where her Top Gun team finished 7-0 and won a championship.
"I had like 17 stolen bases, something like 17 RBIs and seemed like I got a hit every time I was up," said Smith, a premier slap hitter who earned a spot on The Examiner's All-Area first team and first-team all-state recognition last season after missing her sophomore campaign following surgery for a torn labrum.
"I got back to the dugout and my coach says, 'You create a lot of chaos out there – I'm going to start calling you 'Chaos.' So, my new nickname is ‘Chaos.’ I like it."
This summer Smith traveled across the country, playing softball in Mississippi and California and many points in between.
On Monday, the Jaguars will begin tryouts, followed by practice for her senior year, and she can't wait.
"I remember when all of us were freshmen and we talked about how we were going to be the leaders when we were seniors and how we couldn't wait. And back then, it seemed like it would take forever – and now it's here,” said Smith, who hit .420 with 37 hits, 38 runs, 30 stolen bases and a .500 on-base percentage in her junior season. “My last season at South, and like everything I do, I'm going to give it 110 percent."
South coach Kristi Williams agrees with her star outfielder. She smiles when she recalls a game-saving catch in Smith's freshman year that paved the way to an extra-inning victory over Lee's Summit North en route to the first state championship in team history.
“One thing I always say about Elle is that she does everything 100,000 miles per hour,” Williams said. “That is a play she makes every day in practice. She’s going to go for that catch. That’s what she does. And when we needed it the most, she delivered.”
This summer, on the rare days she was not playing, Smith was coaching younger players the art of slap hitting.
"I love working with the younger girls," Smith said. "It's a way to give back, because so many people have been there for me on my journey. And I thank God for all he has given me, and any time I can praise him, I do. I am truly blessed."
While she has another prep season to take care of before heading to Indiana, she is excited about the challenges college softball will bring.
"When I signed with Indiana, I could have thought, 'All the pressure is off my back because I know where I'm going to college,'" Smith said. "But I wanted to work hard, I wanted to prove that I was a Division I player, and I think I was able to do that this summer."
And all the while, she was also creating a lot of chaos.