PLYMOUTH — Former Plymouth baseball stand out Mike Scott could say that both his careers started in Plymouth.
Scott now works pre-press — being certain that all images, designs, and text are ready to go to final print — for a company in Lansing that makes packaging for various products like pharmaceuticals, and entertainment items like DVD’s worldwide, “And I’m actually learning how to work from home right now,” he said.
Scott had a very local start in both his careers.
“My first pre-press work came in preparing the classified pages at The Pilot News,” he said. “I remember using Quark Express (a design program) to put all that together. I still have Quark on my computer but I don’t think I’ve opened it in years.”
His baseball career also started at Plymouth High School and his abilities led to a scholarship at Lynn University in Florida where he got a degree in graphic design.
“I knew I wanted to do something in the design world and I knew I wanted to keep playing baseball and it was tough finding a school that offered a degree in design that didn’t have a baseball team that was 0-56,” he said. “I think my Mom and Dad and I looked at every school across the country. Lynn was actually the last place I visited. My mom (Sharon) and I flew there the Monday after the state championship game. I ended up signing that next week.”
His talents had made him a player to be noticed in high school both at the plate and in the field at second base, but college was a different game.
“Early on in college I figured out that the dream of pro baseball wasn’t very likely for a middle infielder with two left feet and brick hands,” he said. “Work ethic can only take you so far.”
It was then a part of his DNA kicked in.
“I think that my sophomore or junior year I knew I wanted to do something with coaching,” he said. “It was a natural progression. You’re the one being taught and then you become the one doing the teaching.”
“I was a scrub in college,” said Scott. “I started my sophomore year part of the year because of injury. I started my senior year because of a lack of talent. That was more of a leadership role. I knew that my role early on was to teach the younger kids how to play the game, how to practice, the mental approach.”
That experience led to a chance to put that into practice. Directly out of Lynn, Scott had an opportunity to join the staff at Lansing Catholic in Michigan where he eventually became head coach and finished runner up in the state tournament.
“We went 9-20 my first year and four years later we finished runner up,” said Scott. “The program was successful before I ever got there. Even the 9-20 year we won districts which is the equivalent of sectional in Indiana, but what I tried to teach those guys was that “Rocky” mentality, that fight. We weren’t the most talented team.”
“That was instilled in you at Plymouth,” He said. “I mean at Plymouth you were always outmanned, the other team had more talent but you found a way.”
The coaching end came very naturally for Mike — the son of recently retired assistant AD at Plymouth John Scott who held several coaching positions over his career at PHS — and a lot of his approach to everything came from those years around the baseball program.
“I remember getting on the bus at Webster when I was in elementary school, getting off at the high school and being around the guys on those teams,” he said. “I remember the Greg Hunt’s and the Joe Olivares’ and catching in when they were hitting fungoes. Those guys didn’t hold back. They thought ‘if you’re going to be here catching in then you better be ready’ and they wouldn’t hold back anything throwing the ball back in to me.”
“In junior high all the guys that played, we’d go to the games all the time,” said Scott. “You knew those guys before you and you wanted to be part of something.”
“It’s something,” he said. “We don’t talk as much as we used to but when we (the class of 2000) all get together to play golf or whatever, it’s like we’re 18 still. Not living in the past just that feeling like its all still the same with us.”
Scott’s freshman class played through the beginning of one of the most successful periods of Plymouth baseball history. The class of 2000 made it to the “Elite 8” three out of the four years they played, which included the final year of non-class baseball as well as a final four appearance in 1999 when the tournament had only a final game in Indianapolis, and then an appearance in the final game at Victory Field in 2000.
Looking back, despite the success, it’s the time with teammates that means the most.
“I tell guys that you need to cherish every moment,” he said. “Enjoy the teammates you have now because it will never be the same again. Even if you play pro or college ball it’s not the same. There isn’t that same camaraderie. This is the last time that it’s going to be just you and your teammates playing together to win. This is the last time it’s really pure.”
That experience is also something that makes Mike feel for those current seniors who’s senior year has been canceled.
“You won’t get any closure,” he said. “It’s all been taken away. I guess you have to move on. You can only control what you can control and nobody is in control of this situation now. None of us.”
“I still think though that as much success as me and my teammates had sneaking into gyms and finding a way onto fields, we’d probably found a way to play anyway.”