Sports

Vanderbilt star returns to Cardinal Gibbons a College World Series champion

Vanderbilt’s Stephen Scott (19) catches a deep fly ball during fifth the inning in Game 3 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals against Michigan in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
Vanderbilt’s Stephen Scott (19) catches a deep fly ball during fifth the inning in Game 3 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals against Michigan in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

Stephen Scott was in a familiar place Sunday. The former Cardinal Gibbons two-sport star walked through the high school’s front entrance to its mission wall, a collage of pictures commemorating the school’s past in arts, academics and athletics that takes up one entire side of the entryway.

In 2014, it’s the spot where he signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Vanderbilt. On this day, it was where he returned to be honored for his recent accomplishments: playing a key role on Vanderbilt’s College World Series championship team and being drafted in the 10th round by the Boston Red Sox.

“My time here at Gibbons was incredible,” Scott said. “To be able to develop from freshman year all the way through senior year, those are pretty critical times. To have the support here at Gibbons, it’s unmatched. It’s second to none. I’m really just thankful to have that ability to look back on these years and have enjoyed them so much.”

Scott turned in a stellar senior season at Vanderbilt, batting .325 to go with 61 RBIs and 14 home runs in 69 starts as an outfielder/catcher. That culminated in a celebration with his teammates before he was the first to lift the trophy.

“When (Pat DeMarco), our center fielder, caught that last ball, it was kind of just unbelievable,” Scott said. “All the emotions hit at one time. Running in and dog piling with my friends and my teammates was an incredible experience. To get up from that and to see everybody’s face and just hug them and know we had made it.”

Scott, who played four seasons of varsity football and baseball at Cardinal Gibbons, was one of the best baseball players in the school’s history. As a junior, he set several school single-season records: on-base percentage (.727), slugging percentage (1.196) and walks (32) in what Crusaders head coach Jim Liebler called the greatest high school baseball season he’s ever witnessed. His senior year, he was named the Big Eight conference player of the year, and led Gibbons to a share of the Big Eight title.

Even after winning the title at Vanderbilt, Scott might be better known for what happened next: Vanderbilt director of baseball operations Brooks Webb tweeted a photo of Scott picking up trash in the dugout in Omaha hours after the final game.

“You can’t get a better kid than Stephen,” Liebler said. “We talked earlier about the hard-working mentality that he had, the lunch-pail mentality. When your best player is your hardest worker, it’s easy for everybody to fall in line.”

The best example of that at Cardinal Gibbons did not come on the baseball diamond, but the football field. Despite already having committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt, Scott risked injury to play linebacker as a senior.

“It was not even a question with Stephen,” Liebler said. “He got a lot of advice. He got all the information, but he was going to play. Even though the odds maybe would have been that that wouldn’t have been the smartest thing to do. It had nothing to do with that. He knew what the risks were and he wanted to make sure that he was there for those guys.”

After signing with Boston, he’ll report to the Class A Lowell (Mass.) Spinners. However, as Scott looks back on where his time on the diamond has taken him so far, it’s not the championships, accolades or records that stand out the most for him.

“I think the main things that stick with me are the relationships that I’ve made through baseball,” Scott said. “I’ve made some of the best friends of my life through baseball. That’s what sticks with me, more than any wins and losses, any championships, is the people that I’ve met.”

  Comments