Waiting His Turn

Scott Weathersby has become one of the most important pitchers for Ole Miss baseball the past two seasons. It’s been worth the wait for the fifth-year senior.

Weathersby toiled a long time to make an impact on the baseball field for the Ole Miss Rebels. For all of his career he had been a reliever, 47 appearances including 13 this season.

But that was before April 28. He has started two of the last four games for the Rebels.

He helped lift his team to an 11-1 victory against Mississippi State in the Governor’s Cup last week. And on Sunday, he started the game at Missouri the Rebels won 4-3.

Beginning Thursday night and moving through Saturday, Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State for three Southeastern Conference games. Weathersby said the fact that the Rebels won big over the Bulldogs the first time the two teams met isn’t necessarily a factor in this one.

“We need to put that one behind us and focus on the weekend that’s in front of us,” he said. “Maybe it will give us a little confidence moving ahead. The past doesn’t matter. We need to win some baseball games.”

Weathersby pitched longer and threw more pitches against MSU in Pearl than he has since high school. And that was 2010. But he said come Sunday he was ready to pitch again.

“I was fine. There wasn’t any soreness,” he said. “I was honestly a little shaky. I didn’t throw a lot of strikes. I got into a lot of 2-0 counts. I just tried to fight through it. Ironically the one guy I did get ahead in the count hit a home run.”

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said the plan this week is the same as last week. Christian Trent in game one and Brady Bramlett in game two with Weathersby likely in game three.

“The hope is he can pitch on Sunday,” Bianco said. “But if we need him beforehand we will pitch him. He won’t be the first option out of the pen.”

While he waited on times such as these, it was Weathersby’s faith that saw him through.

A right-hander from Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., Weathersby is led by his faith in God, as a follower of Jesus Christ, and a commitment to his family.

Last July 5, Weathersby married Rachael McLamore, a volleyball player at Ole Miss. Weathersby said it’s all a part of God’s plan, and he believes his spiritual walk carries over into his daily life as an Ole Miss baseball player.

“I draw my strength from my faith, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Every time I go out there on the mound, I know he’s right there with me,” said Weathersby, son of Steve and Debra Weathersby, with one sister, Hope. “I have faith in that. I believe he has me here for a purpose.”

Weathersby doesn’t try to make his walk with God something more than it is. It simply is who he is, and he walks it out every day.

“I hope they look to me in situations that are tough and in situations of life," he said of his teammates. "I just try to represent Christ in all that I do for the people in the stands and more importantly for the guys on my team that see me off the field.”

Off the field was where Weathersby found himself most of the time in his first two years. But he never really thought about leaving.

“This was where I always wanted to be. If I couldn’t make it here, why go somewhere else? I think the Lord always pushed me to be on the team here, but I serve a greater purpose than just playing on the field.”

Sure enough, his time finally came. Since then there have been some memorable moments not only for himself but for the team, program, and Rebel Nation.

“So my redshirt sophomore year, I got a chance to play,” Weathersby said of that third season. “My first outing was against TCU here at home. The bases were loaded when I came in, and I’ll always remember that.

“And last season was always full of so much excitement throughout the season, winning the SEC West at Texas A&M, beating Washington in the Regional, winning the Super Regional, and getting the chance to play at Omaha. There were so many bright moments.”

He was the last man standing, so to speak, when the Rebels defeated the Washington Huskies 3-2 in extra innings in Oxford last June to advance to the Super Regional in Lafayette, La. Weathersby relieved starter Sam Smith and got the win, working 5.1 scoreless innings with two hits, two walks, and tying a career high with six strikeouts.

“As a player on the field, I’d say the Washington game and getting to close out a Regional was probably the greatest experience I’ve had so far here,” Weathersby said. “As a player and taking it all in, the first time we stepped on the field in Omaha was pretty special, too. And also when we dogpiled in Lafayette (La.), and we knew we were going to Omaha. That was the pinnacle. Hopefully there are more of those great moments to come.”

Last year those times were cherished with his fiancée, Rachael. This time around the moments are shared as husband and wife.

“There haven’t been any while I’ve been here,” he said of any married teammates in his five years. “Jake Morgan was actually engaged my first year here. That tells you how old I am. But it’s been great. The guys joke with me sometimes. But when you know, you know, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Rachael finished up her Ole Miss volleyball career last fall.

“She’s ‘retired’ from volleyball now. This was her senior year,” Weathersby said. “They went 22-10 and had a great year with a first-year head coach, Coach (Steven) McRoberts. She’s really excited for the next stage of her life.

“She (this spring) was accepted into nursing school here, which is for people who already have their bachelor’s degree. So we’ll be here (in Oxford) for another year. She will be done next July (2016), then she will be a RN.”

Scott will graduate Saturday with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a minor in Psychology. He could be drafted in June, but that isn’t something that consumes him. He has plans either way.

“It’s always kind of been on the back burner,” he said of pitching in the pros, if the opportunity arises. “I’ve just always tried to be ‘present’ here and excited about this team. The Lord will lead me where he wants me, and I’m a true believer in that. As it gets closer, we’ll figure that out.”

He will intern next year with the Ole Miss chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He will spend either six months or a year with FCA, depending on his baseball future and if he continues to play.

For now, it’s focusing on finishing up things as an Ole Miss student-athlete and enjoying the final ride.

“It’s been great. I always wanted to come here, dreamed of coming here,” he said. “Fully getting to experience it on and off the field has been so great.”

His former teammate, Will Allen, now in his first year with the Detroit Tigers organization, said Weathersby had such a positive impact on his life and on the team.

“Scotty is the ultimate role model and someone I really look up to,” said Allen, a catcher who came to Ole Miss the same year Weathersby did. “He’s the nicest, hardest working, most positive and competitive person I’ve ever been around, on and off the field. He really is. In my four years of playing with him, he undoubtedly helped me to be a better person. He’s set in his faith and values, and he uses his platform as an ace pitcher to shed light on that. Things like his walk-out song when he comes in to pitch, leading prayers and Sunday morning chapel services, being an active leader in FCA, drawing a cross on the mound (in the dirt), and praying before he ever faces a hitter.

“He’s mature beyond his years,” Allen continued, “and he really has a great perspective on life and baseball. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who had anything negative to say about Scott – except for maybe some of the hitters he’s faced. Even then, if they truly knew him they would love him and respect him.”

“I bled red and blue growing up,” said Weathersby, who received the men’s sports Hotty Toddy Award for school spirit at the Rebels’ Choice Awards this spring. “This is where I always wanted to be. My dad went to Ole Miss, and my mom went to Southern Miss. They’re both from the Hattiesburg area. I had some other options. But for me, I grew up coming to games here, watching Deuce McAllister and Eli Manning and Patrick Willis and Stephen Head and Zack Cozart and Lance Lynn. I could go on and on.”

For all those he came in contact with as an Ole Miss Rebel, Scott Weathersby’s legacy will go on and on as well.

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