In 2001 the Anaheim Angels drafted Scott Lewis out of high school in the 33rd round. A whole new world opened up for the Washington Court House, Ohio native. A new life playing in the pros would mean a large paycheck and the possible glory of playing professional baseball. Lewis, however, decided to put his professional career on hold so he could improve his skills, become stronger and gain a better knowledge of the game by playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. In doing so, Lewis, now a junior at Ohio State, thinks he has found the form he is looking for and believes he is almost ready for a try at the big leagues. And why not, in his three years of service, Lewis has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2002), Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and a first-team All-American (2003).
How old were you when you started playing baseball?
“I started playing baseball when I was about 4 years old. It all started with playing tee-ball in kindergarten. I loved the sport and wanted to keep playing. And now here I am.”
Who introduced you to baseball?
“It was kind of a combination of my father and myself. When I was younger I had a curiosity for sports, I played just about everything when I was in elementary school and fell in love with baseball. My father helped keep my interest in the sport by encouraging me to keep playing and practicing with me every chance he could.”
What is the best part about playing baseball
“There are so many great things about playing this sport. But the thing I love the most is the competition. Any team can beat you and you can beat any team. Then there is the part of sharing a bond with your teammates. When you play with people for a certain amount of time you become close, lifelong friends. Also, I love when things make me feel good like striking people out and watching my teammates hit home runs.”
Besides baseball, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
“I like playing basement games like pool and cards. I like to play pool often as often as I can. It gives me a chance to relax and unwind when school gets too harsh.”
If you couldn’t play baseball what sport would you choose?
“If I had to pick one it would probably be golf. I really don’t know what other sports I would be good at but golf seems like a laid back sport I could be good at.”
Who are the biggest influences in your life?
“My parents. Throughout life they have always been there for me supporting me no matter what I did. The other influence in my life has been Greg Maddux. I love his throwing style and the fact he throws 80 mph fastballs, which still strike people out. In a way, I model my pitching style off of him.”
Which baseball team did you follow when you were growing up?
“The same team I still follow today – the Atlanta Braves. They have been my favorite team all of my life. I love their style and how they have seemed to always have great pitching talent.”
Who is your favorite baseball player past and present?
“Growing up my favorite player was Atlanta Braves outfielder David Justice. Since then I have really liked Atlanta’s Chipper Jones. I like Chipper because he is a switch hitter and is consistently one of the best hitters in the majors.”
Why did you choose Ohio State?
“To me Ohio State is a great baseball school. When choosing to come here I saw a chance to really enhance my playing skills. Plus, there is a great deal of tradition and they have top-notch facilities for practicing and one of the best stadiums in the country.”
How did it feel to be drafted by the Anaheim Angels?
“The whole thing was very interesting and surreal. Dealing with scouts, and handling all the phone calls coming in on a daily basis was tough and demanding. It was a tough decision for me to make. But I did not think it was the right idea to jump in to the pros just out of high school. When I really thought about it, I felt playing college baseball would help me improve my skills and prepare me for the next step.”
As a pitcher, what are the most stressful moments?
“I think the most stressful thing is when you are ready to go you feel great and nothing works for you from the moment you throw the first pitch. When everything you have just isn’t working and it seems like there is no way out of it. But you have to battle through it and try your best to make things right.”
Has dealing with the stress of being a pitcher enhanced your ability to handle stress elsewhere?
“I think it does. Learning how to deal with stress as a pitcher has made me a better student. It has shown me how to handle the rigors of some of the more stressful classes I have taken.”
What is the hardest thing about being a student-athlete?
“The hardest thing I have dealt with is juggling traveling to play our games all the time and keeping up with my school work. Baseball takes up so much time, especially the last five weeks of winter quarter and the first couple weeks of spring quarter, because we are on the road so much.”
Why do you wear the No. 3 jersey?
“Actually the number I really wanted was No. 13, but because No. 13 is in the process of being retired, I had to take the No. 3 jersey. I wore the No. 13 jersey all through high school.”
Before each game, are there any rituals you perform for good luck?
“I don’t have any rituals, but last season I would listen to the Splurge by Nelly before every game and pace back and forward around the locker room. Before each game begins I will pace in front of the dugout and watch the clock. Then I get stretched, do a few runs and start warming up my arm. After that I pace some more and then walk onto the mound for the game.”
You have had a successful career at OSU, what have been the best memories of you career?
“Probably the most exciting moment, personally, was when I threw 20 strikeouts in one game last year. We were playing Iowa in a weekend series and as the game went along, everyone was pulling for me. I didn’t even realize at first what I was doing because I was just going out and playing my best. But as the game went by the crowd was really getting into it and cheering for me and I was very energized and excited. Having 20 strikeouts in one game is something I had accomplished in high school and for me to be able to do it in college is a great accomplishment and is something I am very proud of.”
What is your favorite pitch?
“My inside fastball. I primarily use it for a stike-three call on a 1-2 count. That pitch has rarely failed thourghout my days in high school and in college.”
What does the future hold for you after your college baseball career is over?
“Ultimately, I want to play in the majors and hopefully the draft will work out for me and I get a shot to prove myself. I think staying here at OSU has enhanced my playing skills and I think I am more prepared to handle playing in the pros then I was three years ago. I know I still have more to learn but I know I can accomplish what I am setting out for. And if the pros don’t work out then I will probably finish up school and get my degree.”