Smith hopes to lead Greenwood baseball to another winning season

In his 27th season as Greenwood’s baseball coach, Andy Bass is enjoying his second time through the order when it comes to the Smith family.

Woodmen shortstop Landen Smith is looking to finish it in style.

A four-year starter who is typically the second or third name on Bass’ lineup card, Smith led Greenwood in numerous offensive categories last season, including batting average (.375), hits (36), runs (37), extra-base hits (11) and runs batted in (21).

All were instrumental in the Woodmen posting a 16-15 record in 2023, snapping a five-year run of sub-.500 seasons (not including the 2020 campaign canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic).

“He’s just naturally athletic. Landen has a strong arm, has a good glove and swings the bat with power,” said Bass, who features 10 seniors on his latest team, including another four-year starter in Cade Kelly.

“He has good base-running instincts, and is just an all-around good baseball kid.”

Sound familiar?

When Bass took over the Woodmen in 1998, Smith’s father Brad was a freshman using that spring to better his skills and confidence as a member of the junior varsity squad. He went on to become a three-year varsity starter from 1999 to 2001, playing second base and hitting leadoff.

Like any legacy-type situation, there are both similarities and differences.

“Brad was a very competitive player,” Bass recalled. “If Brad was going to flip a coin, he wanted to win, and I think Landen gets a lot of that from his dad.”

The son credits his father for instilling into him a love of and appreciation for baseball at a young age.

“We started playing when I was about 3 years old in the backyard. Him hitting fly balls to me,” Landen Smith said. “I’ve always liked baseball. It’s always been challenging to me. When you get older, you see better pitchers, and I like adapting to it.”

At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Smith possesses the type of ranginess and baseball instincts that enable him to excel defensively. It also helps him as a baserunner, with Smith having stolen 19 bases last season and 35 so far in his career after swiping four in a season-opening victory over Brownstown Central.

A career .317 hitter entering this season, Smith had 12 games last spring in which he finished with two or more hits. He picked up where he left off by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs in that opening win last Thursday.

Last summer, Smith committed to play baseball at Ball State University, presenting himself with an entirely new set of challenges academically (he plans to major in business) and athletically.

But first things first.

Smith is confident that the momentum Greenwood manufactured last season could be the ground floor to an even better showing this spring.

“I think we’ll be a really good team this year. We have a lot of leaders on this team, too,” Smith said. “I want to stay consistent at the plate and in the field as well. I want to have my best high school season.

“I need to keep the right mindset, not get down on myself and play my game.”

IF YOU GO

Johnson County tournament

Today

Greenwood Christian at Indian Creek, 5:30 p.m.

Edinburgh at Center Grove, 5:30 p.m.

Whiteland at Greenwood, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday

At Center Grove

GCA/Indian Creek vs. Edinburgh/Center Grove, 1 p.m.

Whiteland/Greenwood vs. Franklin, 1 p.m.

Championship, 3:30 p.m.

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Mike Beas
Mike Beas is the Daily Journal's veteran sports reporter. He has been to more than 200 Indiana high schools, including 1990s visits to Zionsville to profile current Boston Celtics GM Brad Stevens, Gary Roosevelt to play eventual Purdue All-American Glenn Robinson in HORSE (didn’t end well) and Seeger to visit the old gym in which Stephanie White, later the coach of the Indiana Fever, honed her skills in pickup games involving her dad and his friends. He can be reached at [email protected].