Scott Pays His Baseball Dues As a Titan

The sophomore Cal State Fullerton baseball player from Corona earns his way onto the CSUF starting lineup.

Cal State Fullerton baseball player Joe Scott has never been the biggest player on his team.

He has never been the fastest, or the strongest.

He has always been the guy who had defensive talent, but did not seem to have the offensive tools needed to succeed in Division I baseball.

Scott has heard it all, ever since he was a freshman in high school, when he weighed only 135 pounds.

None of it mattered. Scott had a dream, he knew what he wanted, and what he wanted to become.

Playing for the CSUF Titans was his dream, and now he is fulfilling it.

The 20-year-old sophomore shortstop out of Corona, Calif. is enjoying every minute of his time as a Titan.

Scott didn't always believe he would one day be playing for one of the top college baseball programs in the country.

It wasn't until his sophomore season in high school that he thought his dream would come true.

Chad Baum, who at the time was a coach at Fullerton, noticed Scott who was on the summer team he coached.

Eventually Baum invited Scott to hit batting practice at Goodwin Field, where CSUF Head Coach George Horton began to take notice. It was then that Scott got his big break.

"I was able to get my foot in the door," Scott said.

Scott also had benefited from watching players who came before him at his alma mater, Centennial High School in Corona and learn from their experiences.

He was able to watch Mike Stodolka, who was taken by the Kansas City Royals with the fourth overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft.

He was also able to play with Jose Torres, who was drafted by the New York Mets.

It was players like these that dropped knowledge of the game to Scott at an early age to help him prepare for life in baseball after high school.

After an impressive senior year at Centennial, where he hit .370, Scott signed his letter of intent to play for the Titans.

It was his knowledge and his desire to learn that made him accepted by his teammates during his freshman year in college. Scott is a student of the game, something not seen too often on the baseball field.

The question that troubled Horton was Scott's offensive ability. He knew that Scott's defensive talent was ready for Division I baseball

"We always thought he was a good athlete," Horton said. "The question was about his offense. He has what I call a workman's like batting style. He hacks at the ball, but you have to watch him hit to appreciate it."

In six games so far into the 2007 season, Scott has collected 11 hits in 22 at-bats.

Scott knows there is pressure on him to succeed and help lead a young Titans team that has only three returning starters from last year's team.

However, he looks forward to becoming a leader and helping the Titans' quest for another national title.

"I don't let fear of failure get in the way," Scott said. "Having the name Titans on my chest gives me a lot of pride. I work hard everyday to make the guys who played before me proud."

What impressed Horton the most about Scott was his intensity and his work ethic.

"He (Scott) is a competitive young man," Horton said. "He wants to be the best at everything."

While some players have trouble adjusting to going from the star of their team to a ball boy, Scott didn't.

"I knew my role," Scott said. "That made it easier for me to start at the bottom of the food chain."

What may be more important than his ability to play the game is his leadership ability. Many of his fellow teammates and his coach notice how he leads by example.

His energy on the field creates a loose environment for the rest of his teammates. His knowledge of the game also gives the Titans a coaching presence on the field.

"It's fun to have Joe on the field," Titan first baseman Jake Vasquez said. "It's almost like having an extra coach out there."

While Scott did not play too often during his sophomore season, he was able to be a part of the College World Series in 2006.

"I'll never forget that," Scott said. "It was an unbelievable feeling, being a part of the team is quite amazing."

If it weren't for a stockpile at the middle infield positions the past two years Coach Horton believes that Scott would have seen much more playing time before this season.

"He's waited his turn," Horton said.

While Scott did not see any playing time during the tournament, he looks forward to the challenge of helping his team reach the College World Series; this time as a starter.