Cameron Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last October and missed all but one game of his senior season in basketball. He wasn't ready to play baseball until the team's fifth game this spring. In helping Whitefield Academy to a 15-11 record, the 5-foot-8, 205-pound Smith has batted .290 with 20 hits in 69 at bats. He's 5-1 as a pitcher with 56 strikeouts in 402/3 innings. He has allowed 33 hits, 16 runs (13 earned) and has walked 13 for a 2.24 ERA. He holds the school record for most career wins (16) and most strikeouts in a season (88 in 62 innings last year when he was 8-3 and had a 1.91 ERA).
The Courier-Journal: What happened when you injured your knee?
Smith: It was at our first day of basketball practice. I jumped for a layup and my knee twisted on me. A week later, my knee popped out. That was my right push-off knee. I was thinking I had 5½ months of rehab, but Dr. Stacie Grossfeld had me back in four months. When I'm in a game it doesn't bother me, but I have to wear a knee brace.
C-J: Did you get in any basketball games as a senior?
Smith: One. I played Senior Night against Portland Christian, but it was limited. As soon as I got the ball the coach wanted me to shoot. He said he didn't put me in there not to shoot. I went 2 for 15 on three-pointers.
C-J: You're ambidextrous, aren't you?
Smith: My mom said I used to throw left-handed, but when I went to my dad's house I had a glove for a right-hander there so I learned to throw right-handed. I throw and hit right-handed now, but sometimes I eat left-handed.
C-J: How big was your 4-3 win at Kentucky Country Day on Tuesday?
Smith: Pretty big because they are our biggest rival. They pitched Will Smith, and he's their best player. I got one hit, a single, in four at-bats. (KCD beat Smith's school 3-0 in the All 'A' Seventh Region final earlier in the season).
C-J: What have been your biggest thrills in baseball?
Smith: I pitched a five-inning no-hitter against Fern Creek, and we went to the All 'A' state tournament in Lexington my sophomore year. We lost to Lexington Christian 9-4 in the semifinals. I got a save in our first-round game against Ballard Memorial.
C-J: How did you get interested in criminal justice?
Smith: My dad was a Jefferson County and Metro police officer for 22 years. He retired and now works for the Shepherdsville Police Dept. My grandfather, Roger Smith, was a Jefferson County police officer.
C-J: How do you spend your free time away from school and sports?
Smith: I work at church (Highview Baptist) as an outside maintenance man. My boss teaches our home improvement class. I always watch "Swamp People'' on TV. I go to movies. My favorite of all time is "Shawshank Redemption.'' I really liked "Rise of the Planet of the Apes,'' but nobody else liked it.
C-J: Do you have any hobbies?
Smith: I love cooking. I cook everything, but my specialty is Teriyaki chicken with fried rice. My mom was born in Hawaii. That's probably why I love that kind of food.
C-J: Do you have your own car?
Smith: I sold my '91 Jeep Cherokee and I'm driving my dad's 1990 S250 Ford truck. I plan on buying a Wrangler in a month or so. I'm a big Jeep man. I take that after my dad.
C-J: Any big goal the rest of baseball season?
Smith: We play Moore in the first game of our district tournament (next Monday). Our goal is to win a regional tournament game. We haven't won one yet. That's a personal and team goal.
-- Bob White
CAMERON SMITH UP CLOSE
* School: Whitefield Academy. * Year: Senior. * Sports: Basketball, baseball. * Student/athlete: Smith has a 3.45 grade-point average and is taking English literature, college algebra and home improvement. "This is the first year we've had home improvement as a class, and it's pretty interesting,'' he said. Smith played varsity basketball three years as a backup point guard and baseball four years as a pitcher and third baseman. He plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands and study criminal justice. * Family: Smith lives with his mother and stepfather, Celeste and Richard Parkerson. He has a sister, Shelby, 22, a former student and athlete at Whitefield Academy, and three stepbrothers -- Michael, Matt and Ben. * Coach Brian Runyan: "Cameron is a phenomenal kid. I have loved coaching him his last four years. We'll miss him. His coming back from an injury showed the character he has. He's got a great mentality, especially on the mound. He has a lot of confidence. As a hitter, he has a .320 batting average over four years. He'll get to play and do well on the next level. We'll miss him."