Clarion-Limestone Standout Tommy Smith Signs To Play Baseball At PennWest University – Clarion

Photos submitted – Signing letter of commitment to play baseball at PennWest University Clarion (seated) sister, Kaylee and Tommy. (standing) father and coach Bill, mother Di.

Tommy Smith, a standout player for the Clarion-Limestone Lions has decided to continue his baseball career locally, as he recently signed to play for the PennWest University – Clarion Golden Eagles, under the leadership of coach Caleb Lange.

Tommy excelled in several sports. In addition baseball, where he saw action as a pitcher, infielder and outfielder, Tommy also played basketball at C-L, and football for the Central Clarion Wildcats.

Some of his baseball accomplishments include: Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference (KSAC) All-Conference Outfield (2020-2021 Season); All-Conference Pitcher (2022-2023 Season and 2023-2024 season); All-Conference Infield (2022-2023 season and 2023-2024 season). He achieved 100 career strikeouts in 2023 and 200 career strikeouts in 2024. The Lions were D9 runners-up and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Elite 8 in the State Playoffs.

Tommy after he just threw his 200th career strikeout on Lions Senior Night.

Tommy played three seasons on the Clarion-Limestone basketball team. The team they won the 2023 District Nine Class 2A championship and 2023 KSAC championship.

For the Wildcats, Tommy was named All-Conference Tight End (2022) and named to Frank Varischetti All-Star game (2024), as well as receiving the Wildcats’ Blaine Brenneman “Courage Award” (2024). The Wildcats won two District Nine Class 2A Championships.

What were the reasons Tommy chose the Golden Eagles? “I chose PennWest Clarion because it is close to home, and I am familiar with the campus. I also have some friends that are already on the baseball team which is nice.

“I enjoyed speaking with Coach Lang and meeting some of the other players and felt like the team morale was strong and would be fun to be around.

“I am being recruited as a two way athlete, meaning I will be open to a pitching spot and a position player, which is exciting. I believe Coach Lang is an awesome person and from what I’ve heard he’s a great coach.

“I am excited to hopefully help contribute to turning the program around into an above .500 team and playing with some friends that I have played baseball with since I was young.”

Tommy showing his pride in his Lions and Golden Eagles teams.

Coach Lang shared, Tommy is a tremendous athlete. He can do a little bit of everything, over 200 strikeouts in high school and hitting well over .400. We are bringing in Tommy as a position-less player in many ways. We want him to come showcase his athleticism and see where he can help the team most, that might be infield, outfield or pitching

We now have a player signed from all three local Clarion schools. Aiden Hartle from North Clarion, Tommy Smith from Clarion-Limestone and Tanner Miller from Clarion Area. Tanner Miller is someone who is a late bloomer, he has now pitched 41.1 innings this Spring and allowed only 4 earned runs.

We want all of the best in District 9/10 to desire to play baseball and attend Clarion University, especially District 9. We more than doubled our conference win total this Spring from a year ago and are looking to build upon that. We believe that we can develop student-athletes at a high level and help them pursue tremendous after-college opportunities. This past Spring two of our seniors’ pitchers signed professionally. In the past I have coached over 20 professional players including Chicago Cubs Luke Little and Atlanta Braves Spencer Schwellenbach.

We are looking for players who want to compete at a high level and represent their area, schools and families in a professional and mature manner. 

There is tremendous talent in this area of PA, and we want that talent to stay home and represent the area here at Clarion University. 

As to his academics at Clarion, Tommy said, “I have not yet decided on a major but am leaning towards a bachelors degree in science.”

The support from family was and is very important. “My parents have been my biggest support system through my entire baseball career. From the countless tournaments, practices, and high school games through the week (my dad being the head coach of my high school team), they have not missed a beat in any of it. I cannot thank them enough for all their time and energy.”

There is even more support. “Not only my parents, but my entire family has been a huge help in motivating me and supporting me. My high school and travel ball teammates have also been a great help in always pushing me to become a better player and teammate.

Graduation night – (from left: Jake Smith, Nick Aaron, Brayden Murray, Tommy Smith) C-L baseball players, friends who have been playing baseball together since they were six years old.

“I have had lots of great coaches over the years, but the one with the most impact on me has definitely been my dad, who has coached me ever since T-ball. He has taught me the importance of working hard, setting goals for myself and my team, and focusing on being a better teammate than I am an athlete.”

Tommy mentioned two teachers who have had a major influence on him. “My gym teacher Mr. Burk and my Ag Shop teacher Mr. Ochs have been a huge help in encouraging me to be the best person I possibly can be and to always strive for success no matter what the task at hand may be.”

He also mentioned some others who have given of themselves. “Like I said earlier, my dad has been the most impactful coach I have had through the years, but I would also like to thank the entire Beaver Valley baseball program (Pittsburgh, played for 3 years) for teaching me to compete at a higher level and Coach Frank from Creekside Fitness (Ohio, played for 2 years) for the constant reassurance and encouragement.

“I would also like to thank all of my football coaches from the Central Clarion Wildcats (4 years) who have taught me to never quit until the job is finished and my C-L basketball (3 years) coach Joe Ferguson for teaching me important life lessons on building relationships with people.”

Photo by Bri Kirkland-Kirkland Photographs – Tommy in the open field in the D9 Class 2A Championship Win over Brookville.

Wildcats football coach, Davey Eggleton shared, I am excited to see Tommy continue his athletic and academic career at Penn West Clarion. Tommy’s contribution to our football program has been tremendous. He was a four year starter for us. He is a tremendous young man to be around. I have no doubt he will be successful in the next step as well as in life. 

Another who shared was Coach Ferguson, who said, Tommy was a member of the Clarion-Limestone varsity basketball team for 3 years during my coaching tenure. During that time Tommy was a valuable asset to the team and is one of the most gifted athletes that I’ve coached over my career.

What sticks out more to me more than anything else is how passionate Tommy is in everything he does. He always works hard and wants to be the best at what he works at. Thus, helping our team to win a KSAC and District IX championship in 2023, was in his DNA.

His passion has generally always been baseball and I’m really happy for him that he was able to get on with the Pennwest Clarion University team. Because of his passion for baseball, he chose to forego his last season of basketball so he could focus on his favorite sport and that has obviously paid off for him. We, as a basketball team, missed his presence on the court. While coaching, you see different sides to each student athlete. For me, more than anything else, I believe the heart Tommy has, along with his pleasant personality, and great work ethic, will carry him far. “Life is about relationships,” a favorite quote of mine, will resound to Tommy as he continues his career in college and baseball.

Namely, a solid relationship with the Lord, will be most important!

Work hard and do your best Tommy! Colossians 3:23

Tommy pitching for his Beaver Valley travel baseball team.

Coach Frank Senediak with Creekside Baseball mentioned, I have had the privilege to coach Tom. The thing that make him special is his personality. He is a great ball player but by far a better teammate. His smile and total love for the game rubs off on his teammates.

He makes those around him better players and better teammates.

From us at Creekside Baseball we wish him the best as he enters the next chapter of his life.

Good Luck at Clarion!!!

Tommy’s dad and coach, Bill shared, I’ve been coaching Tommy’s baseball teams since he was five years old. It didn’t take long for his love and respect of the game to take off. He has poured countless hours into the game and even more hours in the backyard pitching and playing catch with anyone who would put a glove on.

His mother Di and I are very proud of him and have thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow not only as an athlete, but academically and personally. He is a great teammate, a born leader, a good student, and most importantly a good person. We are excited for him to have chosen PennWest Clarion as his next step, where he’s close to home and we can continue to be a part of that experience.

We have no doubt he will do great things and are excited for his future and all that it holds.

Tommy and Bill with trophies from Dugout travel team’s East Butler Tournament win in 2013.

We would like to send a special thanks to our Dugout Baseball family for all of the memories over the years. It has been an absolute joy to coach this team, and also for Di, Kaylee and I to have been a part of such a special group of young men and their families. Tommy has built friendships that will last a lifetime, all while doing what he loves.

We can’t say enough good things about this group and will miss all of the players and their families.

(Congratulations to Tommy, your family, C-L, the Golden Eagles and others on your signing!!!! Thank you to the Smith’s and Bri Kirkland-Kirkland Photographs for their photos!!)