This is the kind of ballplayer Eric Scott is:
With Old Mill leading Annapolis 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth last Wednesday, the No. 9-ranked Patriots (7-4), looking for an insurance run, had loaded the bases with two out. Scott stepped up to the plate and attacked the first pitch, lining a two-run single into centerfield to break the game open.
"He's probably our most opportunistic hitter," said Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery. "He's so skilled a hitter that sometimes he sees that an outside pitch driven to rightfield to score a run can be more valuable to us than a home run."
But Scott, a slender 6-foot, 168-pound senior shortstop, is capable of home runs, too. He has three thus far this season, already matching last year's total. And he's batting .500 (21-for-42) with 16 runs, eight doubles and 12 RBIs. "It's the quickness in his hands," Montgomery said. "That's what makes the ball go out, and that's something you can't teach. You're born with it."
Scott, whose sophomore brother Ryan starts at third for the Patriots, may have been born to be a ballplayer. His father, Dennis Scott, played in the Detroit Tigers' farm system, reaching Double A.
"He's helped me out a lot," Eric said. "He's probably taught me more than anyone."
But Scott, also an Evening Sun All-Metro second team selection at quarterback, may also have benefited from the extended playing season in Merritt Island, Fla., where he grew up. He moved here just before his junior year. "They start playing earlier there, but I think the players here are just as good," Scott said.
He certainly got to play with good ones last summer as a starting shortstop and second baseman for Mayo Post, which won the American Legion national championship in Corvallis, Ore. Though he'd played 90 games by the end of the summer, it was an exciting experience.
"It was all fun, but at the end it was really tiring," said Scott, who will play for Mayo again this summer. "It was fun traveling around and staying in hotels -- just like the major leagues."
At that level, players must do more than hit, and Scott, Montgomery said, "is our best infielder. He's very smooth, with a strong arm and he gets rid of the ball very fast."
But Scott, who has a stolen base this season, fears speed is his weakness. "I'm slow as a turtle," he said.
Well, not exactly. Montgomery said his speed is "average," but he more than compensates with his quickness and smart baserunning. The whole package makes Scott "definitely a Division I prospect," Montgomery said, and a professional prospect, too.
"That's my dream -- to play pro baseball," Scott said. "That's what I've worked for. That's all I've ever really wanted to be."