WILMINGTON, MA — This is the first in a series of profiles celebrating the former Wilmington Little League’s seniors playing on the Wilmington High School baseball team. Little League’s motto is courage, character, and loyalty. Through playing with and against each other, these student athletes the embodiment of the motto.
When you come from a large athletic family you learn that talent can only take you so far. From the beginning it was noticeable for Graham Smith that he had the talent to become an outstanding ballplayer. Competitive and driven from a young age, Graham showed signs early on that good things would come his way on the ball field. Talent can only take you so far, and Graham was never one to rest on his laurels. Becoming a great player takes hours and hours of hard work and dedication. In Graham’s case he has put those countless hours in. When you are young, it is never easy being labeled as a superstar. However, through hard work and dedication Graham met those expectations and has had great success at all levels of baseball.
Graham’s first WLL team, the Lighting, was coached by his father Kevin. Looking to prove himself on the diamond he played every position. While he excelled in the outfield and at shortstop, his experience as a catcher was not one he remembers well. As Graham tells it, he barely caught any balls and constantly allowed them to pass through his legs. Luckily for everyone involved his coaches decided that Graham’s abilities would be better used at other positions. Expectations for him were high beginning that first year. And as he progressed through WLL he did not disappoint.
Drafted into the Majors as a 10 year old by the Tigers, Graham spent three years playing for coach Bob Mitchell. Each year as a major league player he was selected to the All Star team. Several highlights stand out for Graham during those years playing in the majors. During his final year with the Tigers he was a Home Run machine, capping it off with 3 HRs in one playoff game vs the Indians. Two of the victims that day are current teammates Tim Kippenberger and Jack Boyle. Other highlights include playing in the different All Star Tournament games and getting the opportunity to play one year with his brother Bailey. Graham moved to the big diamond for two years of Juniors, including a memorable year for the Junior Astros and Coach Mike Fiorenza. Graham played eight of the ten WLL seasons he was eligible, only missing the final two seasons due to making the WHS varsity team.
Family and friends were always important to Graham and they played a major role in his WLL career. His mom Deb, remembers the games against the Yankees and family friend Joe Simmons, where Graham would harass coach Simmons while playing the infield. His father Kevin remembers the playful nature in which coach Simmons would lightly kick dirt or toss pebbles at Graham in a manner that only close family friends would do. Graham not only played baseball for WLL, he spent seven years playing Pop Warner football, five years playing travel basketball and seven summers playing baseball for the NorEasters, Legends, and NEB.
This will be Graham’s fourth year playing Varsity Baseball for the Wildcats. During his time on the team he has been a league all star and is a Captain. Graham is a three sport athlete, playing three years of Varsity Football and Basketball during his time at WHS.
Graham is the son of Deb and Kevin Smith, little brother to Christina and Killian and big brother to Bailey and Tiffanie. Graham is grateful for the time he gets to spend with his family. If he is not playing sports, he enjoys hanging out and spending time with his mother. He remembers all the car rides racing back and forth from game to game and the great baseball conversations during those rides.
This fall, Graham plans on attending Franklin Pierce University where he will be a member of the baseball team.
(NOTE: The above profile is from Wilmington Little League.)
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