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Athlete of the Week Q & A: Spencer Scorza

Each week, BRSN sits down for a Q & A session with the BRSN Athlete of the Week. This week, we caught up with Athlete of the Week Senior Cornell Baseball DH Spencer Scorza following his outstanding performance at the plate in Sunday’s doubleheader to help lead the Big Red in sweeping Princeton in the team’s final Ivy League action of the season.

BRSN: Spencer, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. You led the team in Sunday’s doubleheader with five hits, which included a perfect 4-for-4 in game one, and you also drove home the tying run in the first inning of the second game. What did it mean for you to go out strong on senior day and for what were your final Ivy League games?

SS: Sunday meant a lot to me and my family. I had my parents and some close family friends at the games. Those people have supported me and been there to experience everything from the past 15 years or so of baseball, so that was pretty cool to have them there. Sometimes, as a hitter, you can’t completely control the outcome of your at-bat, but you stick with your preparation and approach, expecting good things to happen throughout the course of the season. I’m happy that I had some opportunities at the plate to contribute to two wins on an important day for the seniors. More importantly, I enjoyed the afternoon with my teammates, coaches, and family while reflecting on my time here at Cornell. It’s been a fun (but quick!) ride.

BRSN: How were the team’s focus and preparation in the few days leading up to this weekend’s doubleheaders? Was there any added energy or motivation for senior day on Sunday?

SS: I’d say the team’s focus and preparation leading up to the Princeton series remained consistent with the approach we’ve had throughout the season. We definitely played loose knowing this was the final Ivy series of the year and the last ever for us seniors. The biggest shift in mentality was after our game one loss on Friday at Princeton. Kellen Urbon pitched a gem, but we failed to push a couple runs across and suffered a tough 1-0 loss. That’s a tough way to start a series. As a hitter, you take a loss like that kind of personally. Fortunately, our offense made some adjustments in game two, and we were able to keep that momentum going into Sunday.

BRSN: After enduring a fairly rocky season with a lot of close games, including 13 one-run losses, how did it feel to conclude Ivy play on a high note with your first doubleheader sweep since Yale nearly one month ago?

SS: Great. Winning always feels good, no matter if it’s the first or last series of the season. I guess it’s fitting that we won our last Ivy League game in one-run fashion, 2-1. It’s important that we continue to compete every game no matter what our standing or record is. Sunday was a bright spot in a tough spring.

BRSN: What will emotions be like around the locker room on Wednesday when the team faces Canisius for the last two games of the season, particularly for the seniors, as it will be your last opportunity to play for the Big Red at Hoy Field?

SS: That’s a good question. This is something I’ve thought about the past week, and I honestly have no idea. For a very long time, there’s always been another game, another at bat or outing on the mound. For most of the seniors, that’s over after Wednesday. That’s definitely something new for us. Playing for the Big Red at Hoy Field is something none of us have taken for granted. After the games, there will be time for reflection, but, personally, I’m going to remain focused on baseball and helping the team win as long as there’s another game to play.

BRSN: What were some of your favorite memories or one highlight that really stuck out to you from this season?

SS: Early in the season, we were lucky enough to fly down to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and play a few games. On the last day, we faced a top ranked, undefeated UVA. Brian McAfee was on the mound for us and had an unbelievable outing. Through seven innings, we found ourselves on the verge of an upset leading 2-0. In the 8th, Virginia scored and went up 4-2. We went into the top of the 9th down by two runs when Jamie Smith picked a pretty good time for his first college home run and hit a game tying two-run home run off UVA’s hard throwing closer. Unfortunately, we ended up losing 4-5 in the bottom of the 9th, but that game stuck with me. You had McAfee coming off a tough back injury from last year and pitching what Coach Ford characterized as “one of the best pitching performances he’s ever seen at Cornell.” You got Dan Morris, who earned a starting spot in the lineup as a senior, carrying our team offensively with three of our five hits. Finally, Jamie Smith, with very few college at bats as only a sophomore, getting a pinch-hit in a huge situation and coming through for us with a game tying home run. That’s what it’s all about: overcoming adversity and out-working your opponent every time you come to the ballpark.

BRSN: What are some of your interests outside of baseball?

SS: My dad always brought me camping when I was younger, so I enjoy the outdoors. Specifically, I like to hunt, fish, and ski. For hunting, I use a traditional longbow. Archery is challenging and requires the same level of focus needed for baseball. The fishing in Western NY is really good, and exploring local streams in the fall and spring is always fun. I started skiing when I was big enough to carry my own equipment from the car to the hill, and I still get out a few times each year. I also like country music and going to outdoor concerts in the summer.

BRSN: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you that you would like to share with fans of Cornell and, more specifically, Big Red Baseball?

SS: At some point, I would love to be a head coach of a college baseball program. I think coaching is a unique and powerful way to have an impact on student athletes at a very important time in their lives. I’ve seen how baseball and the relationships coming from it have changed my life, and I’d like to give that same opportunity to future players. Coaching would be a great way for me to stay in baseball for a long time.

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