Scott Hyde: From Small to Smaller to BIG

George Fox University is a small Christ-centered university in Oregon noted for its academic excellence. Several years down the road it might be known as producing major league pitcher Scott Hyde. At the same time Scott Hyde might be known as the small town boy who made it big in New York City, and the only member of the George Fox University baseball team to make it to the major leagues.

Hyde grew up in the small town of Grants Pass, Oregon, and went to college in an even small town of Newberg, Oregon. Now he is spending his summer 3,000 miles away from home, and in the biggest city in the United States.

"I guess you can say I went from small, to smaller, to now New York City" a smiling Hyde said.

Hyde, just 21 years of age, made his professional debut Sunday night in the Cyclones 3-1 loss to the Hudson Valley Renegades. Hyde was originally scheduled to begin his professional career out of the bullpen until be built up his arm strenghth again, however a sore shoulder to starter Will Quaglieri gave Hyde the opportunity to start.

Hyde, who was on a pitch count, threw four scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, while striking out one.

"I'm excited" said Hyde Saturday night, just one day before going out to pitch his first professional game. "I have been looking forward to this for a long time so I am excited to get out on the mound and compete."

Hyde last pitched on June 1st, however he had a well deserved rest. Not only did he throw 122 innings in college, however from a span of May 28th-June 1st he threw 20 innings. After throwing a complete game victory in George Fox's first playoff game on May 28th, Hyde threw 2 innings of relief on May 31st, and the next day lead his team to a 9 inning, 140 pitch complete game victory for the DIII championship.

"I feel strong enough to pitch" said Hyde about his arm. "It is not yet 100%, however it is getting stronger, and is in game shape."

When asked is he had a game plan Hyde simply stated: "Just concentrate on locating, hit my spots, and make them hit my pitches on the ground." Hyde did just getting 8 of his 12 outs on ground balls.

Hyde thanked everyone from God to his trainer for making his arm hold up the way it did during that rough stretch of time.

"To be honest with you I just think God came down, and helped my arm" said Hyde. "He protected me those couple of days, and that was a real blessing. Many people worked hard to get my arm the way it was. Byron Shenk, our trainer, must have given me 15 massages, I had ice on it, and was constantly in the trainer's room. "When I wasn't throwing, somebody was doing something to my right arm. For them to just work so hard to put me in a position to come back, and throw that soon, it was just amazing" Hyde said.

More impressive than his 14-1 1.99 ERA, and 191 strikeouts in 122 innings is the fact that Hyde began pitching his senior year of high school. So how did he get so good so fast?

"I just have no idea" said Hyde. "I honestly don't know. I used to be a short stop and third baseman, and it turned out in high school we needed a pitcher, and I got out their, and threw a little bit. When I went to George Fox I actually was recruited as an infielder, and they thought it would be good to throw on the side, and be used as a closer. I ended up throwing a lot my freshman year, and then I just shut down my hitting, and turned into a full time pitcher from my sophomore year on."

Coach Pat Bailey who coached Hyde in college said Hyde's biggest contribution to a team other than pitching is the fact that he is a team player, and will always deflect attention from himself, and give it to his teammates.

"Once we started getting media attention on the road this year Scott began to get lots of attention on himself. He just reflected the attention to his teammates, and credited them for winning, and for our success this season. In this day of age for many athletes it is about them first, however Scott is different. He is a very humble person" Bailey said.

Hyde proved Bailey's point right to the money when he was asked to comment about his successful college season this year.

"I'm not really sure what exactly occurred. Our guys just swung the bats extremely well, and they gave me a chance to win all those games. "At times when I was down they would just come back, and pick me right up" said Hyde. "I think it was more of a George Fox University thing than it was a Scott Hyde thing."

Critics would put down Hyde's pitching numbers this season because he faced no real competition at the Division III level. Coach Bailey would agree, and also disagree.

"I would say it is somewhat true. He would not have had as many strikeouts as he did" said Bailey. "However, I am certain his ERA would be similar to what he posted this year."

So being a small town boy will the big crowd, and the pressure of New York affect Hyde?

"Absolutely not" said Bailey. "Nothing bothers Scott. He is a big competitor, and he loves to be challenged."

"Once I came here I decided that will not bother me" said Hyde, noting the largest crowd he ever pitched in front of was about 3,000 people in state legion tournaments. "No matter who is watching or how many people are watching you still have to go out, and make pitches. You still have to locate. You still have to have confidence in yourself. That does not change whether you are pitching in front of the entire nation or just throwing a bullpen session for you pitching coach."

Hyde is not perfect however. He does have a weakness, and he knows at this level he must work on that weakness.

"His major weakness is just pitch to pitch concentration. He tends to lose focus at times, and then it gets him in trouble" said Bailey.

"I am sure Scott would agree with me."

"Yes that is definitely my weakness" said Hyde laughing after being told what his old coach said. "I just think it is a bad habit I got used to in college. The lineups I would face would have just the 3 and 4 hitter who I just really had to concentrate to get out. However, at this level you have to concentrate on all nine of the guys in the lineup. I have to have the mind-focus of saying to myself 'this guy is their number 3 hitter' every time."

"I'm sure there will be that time that I do lose focus and will get lit up pretty good, but that stuff just happens. Nobody is perfect, but I am confident that is a weakness I can work on improving" Hyde said.

Coach Bailey who expected Hyde to be drafted between the fifth, and tenth round said Scott's curve ball is well above average, and had scouts throughout the west raving about it.

"Scouts rated his curve ball between 65 and 70" said Hyde. That rating is out of an 80, and means his curve ball is major league ready right now.

"I think I need to prove I can throw my curve ball for a strike at this level" said Hyde who personally likes his slider over his curve ball.

"Everyone will say my curve ball is better, however I personally like my slider better" Hyde said.

Hector Berrios, the Cyclones pitching coach agrees with the scouts and Coach Bailey.

"He has a very good curveball" said Berrios. "It is a 12-6 type, very sharp, and very hard. He has good command of it as of now, and it is definitely a plus major league pitch right now.

"One of the things that I like a lot of Hyde is that he has very good height, and uses that height to his advantage, meaning he has very good downhill plane, something many pitchers do not have" said Berrios.

When asked what one piece of advice Coach Pat Bailey would give Hyde now that he has reached the professional level his response was to be a leader, and a role-model.

"Just to be a good example" said Bailey. "A lot of stuff goes on in professional baseball, and when guys get out on the road. I just want him to be a good example, and a leader on his staff."

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