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Long’s Jaci Smiley signs with ABAC
Jaci Smiley
Long County star pitcher Jaci Smiley signed a letter of intent to play at ABAC in Tifton. Photo provided

The Long County Lady Blue Tide softball team had a successful 2022 season, winning their first region championship and hosting a super regional. A big part of that success was senior pitcher Jaci Smiley and she was recently recognized for her career with a scholarship to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

On Wednesday, December 7, Smiley was joined by friends, family, coaches and teammates to sign her scholarship to play for the Fillies. Head coach Harley Dawson said Smiley almost completely stopped pitching after only hitting the circle in two games her junior season.

“She is a great person, all the way around,” Dawson said. “She is selfless and would do anything for you. Coaching her, you get to see a little bit extra. She’s a competitor. She hates losing. She will do everything in her power to not fail and especially not to let her teammates down.”

Smiley spent most of her junior season in the outfield before taking the circle as the team’s fulltime pitcher in 2022.

During the 2022 season, Smiley pitched 124 innings and recorded 157 strikeouts against just 45 walks with a 2.71 ERA. She also had a .545 batting average.

Her successful senior season led to her being named Region 3-AAA Player of the Year. ABAC head coach Mike Reed said there was a lot they liked about Smiley, but one of the biggest things was that she fit into their culture perfectly, particularly her work ethic and drive.

“I got to know her on the visit and we’re real big on culture, chemistry, and leadership and she exudes all of those characteristics,” he said.

The Fillies finished the 2021-22 season 36-20, falling in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association championship to Georgia Military College.

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