Scott Strachan is not your typical relief pitcher. The crafty senior lefty has made a team high 15 appearances out of the bullpen for the Owls this season, striking out 19 batters in 18.1 innings of work, while picking up three wins and a save along the way. It's not only the production that makes Strachan such a valuable weapon for Westfield State, it's the unique style in which he throws.
Scott uses three different arm angles when he pitches, a strategy he picked up since coming to Westfield his freshman year.
"I throw three quarters naturally, so sometimes I'll drop it down and throw sidearm, or even lower and throw a little bit submarine," Scott explained. "It just keeps hitters guessing, and keeps them off balance because they don't know what's coming."
A walk-on as a freshman, Strachan has turned into a key piece for an Owls team that was picked to win the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) for the third straight season, and is primed for another deep playoff run.
"I actually just really liked the academics at Westfield, they have a really good criminal justice program. Then one day I just talked to the coach and walked on from there." Scott said.
Strachan went on to play a large role on the Owls next two championship teams, finishing with a 2.53 earned run average (ERA) in 10.2 innings as a sophomore, and a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings as a junior.
"Scott has made himself into a tremendous college pitcher," said Nathan Bashaw, who is in his sixth season as the head coach of the baseball team at Westfield. "He experimented with different arm angles, and is always working on his craft. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever coached."
The senior from Braintree, Massachusetts starting playing baseball at a very early age, and never looked back. "My dad got me into baseball when I was about seven, and a lot of my friends did it too so I just stuck with it." Scott recalled.
Strachan continued to play into high school, where he was one of the best players on a Braintree team that captured the state championship his senior year. He credits a lot of his success at the college level to his time at Braintree High School.
"We were a really good team, going up against really good competition." Scott explained, "We won the state championship my senior year, so playing against good teams late in the season really prepared me for Westfield."
Along with his high school experience, Strachan said that learning from his teammates has also helped him grow as a player. "I think I've matured a lot through the years, just getting older. Just working with all of these guys, especially the older guys when I was younger helped me a lot."
Strachan has gone from a walk-on as a freshman to one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for the Owls, and his ability to pitch in clutch situations has been a huge asset for Westfield State.
"When you give him the ball he competes, and when the game is on the line he's a guy you want to give the ball to" Coach Bashaw said.
Strachan says he made the right decision choosing Westfield State as a freshman. "Westfield's a lot of fun. We have a really good campus and I like the Dining Commons a lot. I've really liked the past four years here, especially with the team. It's a really good school."
Outside of baseball, Scott enjoys working out, watching sports, and hanging out with friends. A Criminal Justice major, he plans on finding a job in his field after graduation.
Now in his final collegiate season, Strachan will look to help Westfield capture their third straight MASCAC title, and expects more playoff success for the Owls. "We have a great group of guys and we battle a lot, so we should have a really good run in the postseason again."
Westfield State currently sits at 19-9 overall on the season, with a conference record of 11-4. The Owls have been hot as of late, winning nine of their last 11 games.
-- By Nick Dolan, Sports Information Intern