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Sports >  High school sports

Signing day: Central Valley pitcher Parker Smith stays home, signs with Gonzaga

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 10, 2021

Central Valley pitcher Parker Smith signs with Gonzaga baseball at a ceremony at Central Valley High School on Wednesday.  (Dave Nichols)
Central Valley pitcher Parker Smith signs with Gonzaga baseball at a ceremony at Central Valley High School on Wednesday. (Dave Nichols)

Gonzaga baseball has put itself on the national map since coach Mark Machtolf took over in 2003. Part of that success has been the dedication to recruiting local and Pacific Northwest talent.

That tradition continued on Wednesday, as the Zags picked up two more local athletes: Central Valley pitcher Parker Smith and University utility player Ricco Longo.

Smith took part in a National Letter of Intent signing day ceremony in front of family and classmates at Central Valley on Wednesday. Even though he’s known his choice for several years, he was still happy to finally sign on the dotted line.

“I’ve grown up in Spokane my whole life and I’ve had a good relationship with the (Gonzaga) coaches since I was about 14 years old,” Smith said. “I committed as a freshman, so I’ve known where I was gonna go for a while.”

He knows what he wants to accomplish at Gonzaga.

“I hope to obviously help them get to Omaha eventually, and eventually compete for a College World Series,” he said. “I just hope to improve the baseball program. It’s a good community, good coaches.”

Smith is thankful the pandemic didn’t affect his recruitment as it has so many other high school athletes.

“I lucked out,” he said. “I committed so early that I didn’t really have to struggle with the recruiting process through the pandemic.”

“Coach (Brandon) Harmon and the gang there, coach Machtolf, they’re all super good at what they’re doing,” CV first-year baseball coach Beau Kerns said.

“They get really good human beings and that just seems to be kind of their M.O.,” he said. “Just knowing Parker for even the short time that I have, he’s a very respectful, awesome kid.”

Smith plans to play summer collegiate league with the Corvallis Knights , where Kerns will be his pitching coach, before getting to Gonzaga.

Kerns previously coached at Lewis-Clark State, so he knows how important it is to recruit locally as well.

“What Ccach Harmon has done, being the recruiting guy, he just gets a pile of (regional athletes) because they know how to play in the … Northwest.”

Others

Central Valley: Robyn White, Midwestern State (Texas) volleyball; Zoe Crockett, Point Loma Nazarene soccer; Rylin Zimmerman, Sacramento State gymnastics.

Cheney: Jade Gere, Western Colorado swimming; Janie Richards, St. Norbert (Wisconsin) swimming

Lewis and Clark: Audrey Thronson, Tennessee cross country; Claire Worthy, Western Oregon soccer.

Mead: Haley Burns, Embry Riddle women’s basketball; Parker Brown, Air Force women’s basketball; Madi Zorn, Saint Mary’s volleyball.

Mt. Spokane: Teila Allen, San Jose State volleyball; Katie Belitz, Bushnell volleyball; Kyla Randall, Oral Roberts volleyball; Carson Coffield, Community Colleges of Spokane baseball; Jaxson Davis, CCS baseball; Kylie Stiles, Santa Clara women’s soccer.

North Central: Isabella Bay, Western Washington softball.

Pullman: Lauren Greeny, Montana State golf; Mya Reed, Siena swimming; Marcus Hilliard, Big Bend CC baseball.

Shadle Park: Katelyn Pomerinke, Saint Martin’s soccer.

University: Ricco Longo, Gonzaga baseball.

Lake City: Hanah Stoddard, Gonzaga volleyball; Nellie Reese, Montana State volleyball.

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