NWL notes: Scott at home in Boise

South African native homesick at times but excited for future

By Patrick Brown / Special to MLB.com | July 6, 2012 7:15 AM ET

Tayler Scott's career has been full of tough decisions. Deciding to pitch professionally, though, was never one of them.

Motivated by his love for baseball, Scott made the decision to move from his home country of South Africa to Arizona while he was in high school. After searching through schools with his parents, they decided on Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale. He later committed to the University of Arizona, but was drafted by the Cubs as well.

The decision to go pro, as opposed to college, was an easy one.

"It doesn't happen every day that a kid gets to come to America and play pro ball," Scott said. "Once I got drafted I knew I was going to go play."

Originally a soccer player, Scott has used his athleticism to his advantage on the mound. In 16 1/3 innings with the Class A Short-Season Boise Hawks, the 20-year-old has allowed just four earned runs while striking out 13 batters. His 2.20 ERA is fifth-best in the Northwest League.

The Chicago Cubs' 2011 fifth-round pick said the hardest adjustment has been the number of innings he's had to pitch compared to his high school days. As the number of pitches he throws continues to increase, it becomes harder to maintain his stamina and keep his mechanics consistent. For that, he relies on his athleticism.

Hawks pitching coach David Rosario said that considering Scott's age and experience with baseball, he has some of the best mechanics he's ever seen. The biggest roadblock Scott may encounter is dealing with adversity, something that every young player experiences.

But so far, so good.

"He's really tough for a young guy," Rosario said. "He's always willing to work and make adjustments in everything we do, and to me, that's one of the hardest things to find in the young kids."

Though he hasn't had to deal with much adversity on the mound just yet, being removed from his family and the comforts of home have presented their share of challenges. Scott misses that aspect of his life and still prefers South African seafood to that of a hot dog or hamburger. But that pales in comparison to the heights he wants to reach in the Majors.

"This experience is amazing," Scott said. "My parents have sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am, so working hard to getting where I want to be, and eventually getting drafted was a big deal for me and my family."

Scott is close with his parents, and though he doesn't see them often, he does frequently talk with them, whether over the phone or through Skype. They have made plans to come this week to visit him, and he's excited they will get to see his progress.

After all, it was his father who had originally encouraged him to come to America. That's a decision that's already paying dividends, and ended up being one of the easiest ones he's ever made.

"I wanted to come to high school in America, no matter what," Scott said. "It worked out with baseball. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we said, 'Why not?'"

In brief

Family matters: The Everett AquaSox and Seattle Mariners have extended their affiliation through the 2014 season. The Sox have been the M's Class A Short Season affiliate since 1995.

Run for warriors: The Spokane Indians held their Fourth of July Pennant Run on Wednesday, donating all funds to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a charity that provides services to severely injured military members.

Supporting the team: The Tri-City Dust Devils swept the Boise Hawks in front of a record crowd of 3,826 fans at Gesa Stadium on Wednesday. The win gave Tri-City its first sweep of this season.

He said it: "It's much more meaningful than a baseball game. It celebrates family, it celebrates the contribution that people have made throughout the decades to make us be able to enjoy our summers." -- Salem-Keizer Volcanoes manager Tom Trebelhorn to the Statesman-Journal regarding spending the day at the ballpark on July 4.

Patrick Brown is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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