Northside High senior third baseman Cameron Scott isn’t a talker on the baseball field. He lets his actions speak up for him.
He isn’t 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 doesn’t 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.
He’s the kind of player, Smart said, he doesn’t have to worry about on or off the field.
“He comes to work every day,” he said. “Whether he’s 4 for 4 or 0 for 4, he doesn’t change. He doesn’t say a lot, but he’s very well-respected just because of his work ethic and attitude. You can’t help but pull for the kid.”
It’s 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. “We’d 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. “It’s 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 don’t think about until they’re adults.
“It was difficult,” he said. “We were close. Any time you lose someone you’re close to, it’s hard.”
Through loss, though, came growth.
“I definitely learned a few things,” Scott said. “Don’t take life for granted. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the things you do.”
Statements like that, Smart said, emphasize Scott’s maturity.
A willing leader
When Scott joined the Northside baseball team, Smart said he could immediately tell the player wasn’t 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 we’ve got — he’s athletic — he’s just gotten a lot out of what he’s got.
“Whether it’s 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 I’m 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 I’ve tried to be a good example for them,” he said.
That attitude, Smart said, will serve Scott wherever his life takes him.
“It’s not just baseball,” he said. “He’ll be great at whatever he decides to do because he know how to commit and strive for success.”
For now, he’s locked in the moment. He can’t decide if this is the best Northside team he’s been a part of or if this season has been his best individually.
“I’m just focused on this week,” he said.
Scott knows that if his brother were alive, he’d 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 doesn’t want to let down either.
“It’s 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 it’s still the best sport to play.”
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.