Northside High senior third baseman Cameron Scott isnt a talker on the baseball field. He lets his actions speak up for him.
He isnt necessarily the best player or the most talented athlete for the Patriots, but day after day he quietly takes care of his business. The result has been a consistent .300 season at the plate. He leads the team in doubles and is among the leaders in RBIs.
Defensively, he is a brick wall and, while he doesnt lead his team vocally, his example has had a trickle-down effect, according to coach David Smart. He has helped the Patriots to a 17-9 record and a home playoff series, which will begin with a doubleheader against Whitewater on Friday.
Hes the kind of player, Smart said, he doesnt have to worry about on or off the field.
He comes to work every day, he said. Whether hes 4 for 4 or 0 for 4, he doesnt change. He doesnt say a lot, but hes very well-respected just because of his work ethic and attitude. You cant help but pull for the kid.
Its an attitude borne of early trials that made him realize at a young age what is most important in his life.
Dealing with loss
Scott started playing baseball when he was about 6 years old. Like most young kids, his story begins in the backyard playing whiffle ball with a younger brother.
We used to get out there and play until it got dark, Scott said. Wed get in trouble for being out too late.
But it was a ritual cut short, when his brother Kirkland, one year his junior, was diagnosed with a brain tumor not long after.
Trips to the backyard became trips to the hospital and then, longer, trips to specialists in Texas.
We had to go back and forth for his treatment, Scott said. Its hard to understand it all at that age.
His brother died in 2003, Scott said, after a year-long battle with the disease. At only 8 years old, Scott was confronted with loss and mortality, things many people dont think about until theyre adults.
It was difficult, he said. We were close. Any time you lose someone youre close to, its hard.
Through loss, though, came growth.
I definitely learned a few things, Scott said. Dont take life for granted. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the things you do.
Statements like that, Smart said, emphasize Scotts maturity.
A willing leader
When Scott joined the Northside baseball team, Smart said he could immediately tell the player wasnt a typical 15-year-old kid.
From day one, Scott knew what he wanted and, more importantly, how to go after it.
He just came in and went to work to really turn himself into a good player, Smart said. He might not be the most athletic kid weve got hes athletic hes just gotten a lot out of what hes got.
Whether its in the weight room or on the field, he does a great job of doing what he needs to succeed.
That, Scott said, comes from good parenting.
My parents have taught me since day one, he said. They want me to have fun, but they trust Im going to handle myself well. You have to set an example for both (on the field and off).
Scott added that he enjoys the pressure that comes with being in a leadership position.
I know the younger guys look up to the seniors, and Ive tried to be a good example for them, he said.
That attitude, Smart said, will serve Scott wherever his life takes him.
Its not just baseball, he said. Hell be great at whatever he decides to do because he know how to commit and strive for success.
For now, hes locked in the moment. He cant decide if this is the best Northside team hes been a part of or if this season has been his best individually.
Im just focused on this week, he said.
Scott knows that if his brother were alive, hed probably be out on the field with him, and that makes him want to do all he can to play at a high level. As it is, he has a team full of other brothers he doesnt want to let down either.
Its the best sport to play, Scott said of baseball. Being out there with the guys, the challenges, the friendships. As you get older, it gets harder and more frustrating, but its still the best sport to play.
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.