Smetak Playing Key Role for Union County Legion Team

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Cameron Smetak gives opposing hitters a look that they rarely see and that has been a winning combination for the Union County Post 535 American Legion Baseball pitcher.

Smetak has been a submarine-style pitcher for several years and giving batters a different look has become an advantage for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-handed pitcher who graduated from Weddington High School in 2016.

After a successful freshman season at Wingate University, Smetak is 3-0 for a talented Union County team that has a roster filled with current and future college baseball players. Smetak said when he is dialed in his delivery style is capable of generating outs.

“Ground balls all day,” Smetak said. ‘With runners on base, you get the ground balls and get out of the inning.”

Smetak, who will be a sophomore next season, made 14 appearances in relief for Wingate last season and the Weddington High School graduate was 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA. Wingate head baseball coach Jeff Gregory is looking for Smetak to be one of the top relievers for the Bulldogs next season.

“Cameron is a side arm guy that we used out of the pen,” Gregory said. “He did a fantastic job in a lot of crunch time situations. He is the type of guy that can come in and get some ground balls and double plays. He can get some very important outs for us. Obviously, he is going to continue that role in the future.”

Smetak said his first season of college baseball was a good learning experience.

“The level of play was definitely a big change from high school,” Smetak said. “In college, you have to be more refined with your pitches. You have to be accurate, more on point with your pitches. In high school, you can make a couple of mistakes and not get hurt. In college, if you make a mistake it’s going to have an impact.

“I also developed my off speed pitches.”

As of June 25, Union County was 13-0 with three regular season games left on the schedule. Post 535 will then take part on the Area 4 Tournament which begins July 1. If Union County can make it to the Area 4 title game they will qualify for the state tournament.

Smetak said Union County has the potential to make a deep postseason run.

“It’s been fun just going out there and playing baseball,” Smetak said. “I have played with these guys since I was younger. We are having a great season. I think we are battle tested and we have shown that we can play every single day and be on point with our game. I like the pressure that everybody is gunning for us. We want to beat the best.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at