By Brandon Speck
Steve Kerr won five NBA championships, three alongside Michael Jordan. The most accurate 3-point shooter in NBA history, he’s about to become the head coach of the New York Knicks.
Steve Kerr, no relation, is also Smithville’s baseball coach.
“People like Phil Webb over there at Pontotoc, he always gives me a hard time,” said Smithville baseball coach Steve Kerr. “He always asks me where Scottie Pippen is.
“I get that a lot,” Kerr said, before laughing. “You can’t change your name. You just roll with it.”
The only name Kerr is focused on this week is Myrtle, the Hawks his opponent in the second round of the MHSAA Class 1A playoffs.
On the mound, Myrtle has the star, Colt Smith. Like Smithville’s football team, the baseball team’s 23-7 record is thanks to a lineup void of stars, but full of experience, like pitchers Tyler Hood, Drew Lann, Micah McCain and Blake Comer.
“I think we match up about the same,” Kerr said. “They’ve got one pitcher that’s a little more dominant than anything that we’ve got, but they put the ball in play just like we do.”
Greenville St. Joseph, eliminated last week by TCPS, put Smithville out of play in this round the last three seasons. The Seminoles’ stingy defense has been a key behind pitchers who let hitters put the ball in play. They don’t walk a lot of batters. Kerr isn’t yet sure of what his rotation will be for the best-of-three. Game 1 is Friday at 7 p.m. in Myrtle. Game 2 is Saturday at Smithville at 7 and Game 3 would be back in Myrtle at 7 on Monday. The winner goes to the state semifinals.
In his third season, with the heart of the lineup intact since he was hired, Smithville’s Kerr would love to add a Class 1A championship trophy to the case.