Scott Siemon Finds His Dreams, Sort Of

March 28, 2000

Gold Rush Front Page

By Jay Reddick

Three years ago, Scott Siemon had dreams.

He dreamed of being, well, pretty much where he is right now: in the starting lineup for an outstanding Deacon baseball team.

Except he thought he'd be about 50 feet closer to the dugout.

Siemon, now one of the top pitchers in the ACC, came to Wake Forest as a third baseman. He started there on Opening Day and played there for most of his freshman year. It wasn't until the following summer that he learned to pitch on the collegiate level.

"I went to Alaska to play in a summer league," Siemon said. "The team had a third baseman, and I wanted to get in the lineup and play, so I decided to pitch. I always knew I had it in me. I had pitched all my life.

"I just never needed to pitch before."

The Deacons have sure needed Siemon to pitch ever since the change. A 12-2 record last season has been followed up by a 6-1 campaign so far in 2000.

The right-hander started last season in the bullpen, but when Eric Schmitt tore ligaments in his elbow on April 17, Siemon became the third starter in the weekend rotation. Suddenly, the staff leader in saves (four) had to make another quick adjustment.

Less than a month later, Siemon had truly arrived. He shut out Maryland in the regular-season finale, helping to clinch the second seed in the ACC Tournament, then did the same to Florida State at the ACC event, the first time the Seminoles had been shut out in more than three years.

This season, he's gotten even more comfortable with his role as an ace on one of the best pitching staffs in the ACC, if not the nation.

"I've just been staying on an even keel," Siemon said. "I've been here a while now, long enough to know that my team will pick me up as long as I keep throwing.

Through March 21, more guys had whiffed off Siemon (36) than gotten hits off him (31). Still, you'll never see the West Palm Beach, Fla., native pull the old Dizzy Dean routine, getting all his fielders to sit down while he takes center stage with a strikeout. Siemon knows how important his teammates are to his success.

"I don't claim to be flashy," Siemon said. "I just go after hitters and make them hit the ball. Let `em hit it on the ground and the guys will take care of me."

Siemon calls it "a fluke" that he is living his dream of college baseball at all, whether on the mound or at third base. He was a solid player in high school, winning a Golden Glove award for his play at third base.

But if Siemon's Forest Hill High team hadn't been so good, the top 4-A team in Florida for five weeks his senior year, Deacon recruiter Bobby Moranda probably never would have seen him play.

"I didn't have many schools after me," Siemon said. "For a long time, it was between several community colleges and Stetson. I didn't do outstanding in high school, but I knew I could play. I'm just glad coach Moranda saw something in me."

Siemon has been a part of two ACC championships in his time at Wake Forest, and the Deacs have their eyes on another one. When the team lost two out of three to N.C. State to open the league schedule, it raised the eyebrows of a few players. But taking two out of three from No. 1 Florida State March 17-19 has the squad's eyes back on their goals.

"We had some higher expectations of ourselves, and when we lost to N.C. State, it was a little disappointing," Siemon said. "We kept playing hard and came out of it against Florida State. Looking back, it seems like we have one of those little stints every year, but they get earlier and earlier. Hopefully, we'll get rid of it soon."

Siemon sees this team as the best he's played on at WFU.

"The difference is that we have more depth in pitching," Siemon said. "Last year, we had our four or five main guys. This year, there's a couple more who can get out there. Guys are maturing and getting better. There's a lot of positives right now."

Like the rest of his teammates, Scott Siemon dreams.

He dreams of Omaha, and the College World Series. And this time, he's on the mound.



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