Burlington native to join baseball team in the fall


Courtesy Avery Smith

Avery Smith, a recruit for Emerson’s Men’s Baseball team, playing for Canterbury.

By José Ríos

The Emerson baseball team received a new addition to its 2021-22 squad on Feb. 7 after Canterbury Baseball announced infielder/outfielder Avery Smith had committed to the Lions. 

The Burlington, Vermont native also announced his commitment on his social media accounts, but he said he was already preparing to move to Boston before that. 

“I posted it officially on my social media and through my team socials last Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday, but I’ve kind of known for a while,” Smith said in a phone interview. 

Smith will major in sports communication and said he believes Emerson will provide a long-term plan for his career.

“I also felt being at Emerson is going to set me up better than anywhere else that I was looking at,” Smith said. “In my evaluation of the colleges I was looking at, it was kind of a no-brainer. Emerson really checked off all my boxes.”

His father, Jeff, said his son’s decision excited their whole family.

“We were super excited,” Jeff Smith said in a phone interview. “He put a lot of work into this process, into thinking through what’s the right school for him from an academic perspective, and finding a place where he could play baseball was a good fit for him. We were psyched for him, really psyched.”

Avery will dive right into the baseball team in Fall 2021 and is looking to provide the Lions with not just another player, but also an important asset off the field. Smith views himself as a “utility guy” and stated that his love for the game has been there all his life.

“I’ve been playing baseball since I could walk,” Smith said. “I mean, I grew up at the little league field. It’s been my thing forever.”

Jeff Smith echoed his son’s enthusiastic sentiment.

“He’s always been really focused on baseball,” Jeff Smith said. “It’s always been a sport that he thrived in, from the time he was in Little League to middle school to high school.”

Avery Smith played baseball throughout middle and high school. After graduating from Burlington High School in 2020, he decided to take a post-graduate year at Canterbury School, a college preparatory boarding and day school in New Milford, Connecticut. At Canterbury, Avery Smith has been playing under the supervision of head coach Todd Mathewson. 

Mathewson sang Smith’s praises and explained what the recruit will bring to the Lions next season.

“His best tool’s his bat,” Matthewson said in a phone interview. “[He] generates some really good bat speed and has some close power. He’s also been really working with the hitter and developing to become a more polished hitter using the whole field. I think his bat is going to be the thing that’s going to come into play, and hopefully you’re hoping to get some at-bats early on as a [first-year student].”

The main attribute  Avery Smith’s peers point to is not only his ability and passion for the game, but his maturity and the work he puts into helping his teammates. Jeff Smith said his son’s maturity has been apparent since the early stages of his baseball career.

“In both middle school and high school, he was essentially a coach on the field,” Jeff Smith said. “I think he’ll fit in really well at Emerson with the team and coaching staff because he’ll listen, he’ll do anything you ask of him from that perspective, and he’ll just put everything on the line for the team.”

Matthewson had limited time coaching Avery Smith because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he still saw Avery Smith’s work ethic on display for the Saints. Matthewson also noted Smith’s constant presence in the weight room and in the batting cage, as well as his maturity and commitment.

“I think he’s gonna come in with a more mature presence than most [first-year students] with his work ethic, even the gym, lifting every single day.” Matthewson said. “I think he’s gonna take that with him to college, and I think that work ethic will be contagious for some of his teammates.”

Smith’s first appearance with the Lions is still a while away, but he already hopes to be an important asset to the team. 

“I definitely feel like I bring a mature presence, a good hard-working mindset, and a big bat to the lineup,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m really versatile, so I can go wherever I’m needed, and I’m always ready to help in whatever way is needed by our coaches around the team.”