Cardinal Gibbons baseball coach Jim Leiber said he has never seen a high school hitter as patient as junior Stephen Scott.
Scott can start his swing so late and still make contact that he induced seven catcher’s interference calls during his freshman season.
“He can wait on a pitch longer than anyone I’ve seen,” Leiber said.
Scott’s patience has been rewarded. He is hitting .714 through 10 games, has hit five home runs and his slugging percentage is a remarkable 1.547. He is getting on base almost eight times out of 10, helped by 17 walks.
“I’m seeing the ball well,” Scott said. “But I’ve been lucky, too. The ball seems to be finding holes. I am just trying to take everything on an at-bat by at-bat basis.”
Leiber said it is fun to watch Scott bat.
“He looks for pitches he can drive and doesn’t swing at strikes early in the count unless he can drive the ball into the gaps or over the fence,” Leiber said. “This is what you want every hitter to do, but so few can. Very patient, but ready to hit when the opportunity presents itself. He can hit just as effectively with two strikes as he can early in the count.
“The other thing that makes him so special is that he has power to all fields and he can hit for average as well.”
Scott led the area in home runs in 2013 with seven and hit .440 with 22 RBIs.
He has developed his skills over time. He began playing baseball at the Salvation Army when he was 4 years old. He already has played on three national championship teams, including a title last summer with the Virginia-based Evoshield Canes, which took the crown at the 16-and-under World Wood Bat Association national championships in Marietta, Ga.
A 5-foot-10, 200-pound outfielder, Scott was the starting middle linebacker for the Gibbons football team before tearing a muscle from ankle to knee on the outside of his left leg. He came down with mononucleosis soon after surgery, but he is in top-flight shape now.
The Crusaders (7-2) will have a key game Wednesday against Big Eight 3A leader Orange. The teams will try to complete a game that was postponed three times and when suspended by rain with the score 4-4 in the fourth inning.
“I hope we can finally get it played,” Scott said.
The Crusaders are No. 3 in The News & Observer rankings and Orange is No. 1.