College of Central Florida head baseball coach Marty Smith clinched another milestone in his storied career, picking up his 800th win in dramatic fashion when the Patriots (13-5) defeated Hillsborough Community College 5-4 on a walk-off single by Miguel Useche. "It's just another win, but it is special for not only myself, but for all the current and former administrators, coaches and players. I think the team was pressing some trying to get 800, so hopefully now they can relax a little."
Troy Britts (1-0) earned the win in relief by shutting down a Hawks rally in the eighth inning. The Pats overcame an early 2-0 deficit by scoring three times in the fifth inning on two wild pitches and a balk. Carlos Gonzalez added a run scoring single in the sixth to extend the lead to 4-2. HCC (3-7) rallied in the seventh to tie the score on an rbi single by Ben Gilbert and a sacrifice fly by Alex Cordero.
Smith, in his 27th season as head coach of the Patriots becomes the second active college coach in Florida to pass the 800 win mark, Mike McLeod at Tallahassee Community College is the current leader among active coaches with 1007 over his 31 seasons.
Smith is a two time Florida College System Activities Association Coach of the Year and five-time Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year; his resume includes two FCSAA state championships and two trips to the NJCAA Division 1 World Series. He served as the head coach of the NJCAA All-Star team at the NJCAA-China Friendship Series in Beijing in 2004, leading the team to a 4-1 record. In 2019 he was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 2020 was selected to be inducted into the FCSAA Athletic Hall of Fame.
Hillsborough defeated CF in game two of the doubleheader 4-1. The Patriots are on the road Sunday playing a doubleheader at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia and will return to Goodlett Field on February 26th at 2:00 PM against TCC when presentations will be made recognizing his achievement.
Photo: Thomas Gaines