By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com
student feature writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Children often look up to the larger-than-life athletes playing in front of the big crowds under the bright lights. Tim Scholly attended all Penn State sporting events and remembers admiring the Nittany Lions on the Penn State football field when he was just four or five years old.
However, Scholly had a closer relationship to these athletes than the other kids in the crowd who were admiring those athletes in blue and white. As a State College native, these student-athletes would visit Scholly's schools and he would see them at local fairs. Seeing the impact they had on the community only made Scholly want to be a Penn State athlete.
Being from State College, some may think that Penn State would be too close for Scholly to go to school and feel like he is away at college, however that was never a deterrent for the senior pitcher.
"I never thought it was too close," Scholly said. "I always looked at it as a dream school."
With University Park in his backyard, the young Scholly began his baseball career at four years old playing with a ball in his driveway with the ultimate goal of playing for the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. As he grew older, Scholly realized he enjoyed having the ball in his hand and being in control of the game on the mound. At the age group where coaches no longer pitch and the players finally take the mound, Scholly started his pitching career.
Not only does a potential Penn Stater from State College have to worry about the proximity to home, but Penn State head coach Rob Cooper says there is much more to think about when recruiting local athletes.
"The thing you have to remember when you recruit a State College kid is they have to be able to fit in here athletically and it just has to be a good fit for them with the community," Cooper said. "If a local kid comes here everybody wants to see him do well. If it's not a good fit for them, then it could be a tough situation. Now if you have a guy like Tim Scholly, who is as good of a person and young man as I have ever been around and probably the ultimate team person, he's the perfect fit. He gets what the University is about. It's something he takes a lot of pride in. I am just really fortunate that I have had the opportunity to coach him."
Many students at Penn State have blue and white in their blood coming from a long line of Penn Staters. Even though Scholly lived right down the road from campus, he was the first person in his family to attend Penn State.
Scholly's dream came true when he earned his spot on the Penn State baseball roster, but his journey did not go as planned. After completing his freshman season, the then-sophomore started to have pain in his throwing arm.
"I remember when he came and told me he needed his arm looked at, he was emotional about it," Cooper said. "I mean I was emotional too because this is a kid who bleeds blue and white."
After getting his arm checked, Scholly learned he would have to miss the complete 2015 season.
"It was one of the hardest years of my life," Scholly said. "You always want to be out on the field and be throwing. You just have to stay patient and know if you work hard enough that you can eventually come back. Nothing is guaranteed. I sort of had to learn to take a step in the background, but I still tried to make an impact in any way possible while trying to get back for the next season."
Being forced to take a step back taught Scholly not only how to be patient, but how to be the ultimate team player. As just a sophomore, Scholly became one of the biggest leaders of his team and to Cooper, "another coach in the dugout."
Cooper says Scholly's baseball IQ sets him apart from everyone else and allows him to help his teammates whenever they need any help on or off the field.
This role that Scholly fell into during his sophomore season became a part of his character. As a senior, Scholly still fills the role of assisting others both on and off the field and is the prime example of being a hardworking player.
"Whether it's trying to help someone who is a senior as well or whether it's a first-year player, he's a huge asset," Cooper said. "It's one thing for guys to help other guys, but when they respect them because they look at a guy like Tim Scholly who does everything you ask him to do and is so sincere when he does it, it's so hard not to want to follow what he says. It's not just that he's a senior and he's helping with that stuff, it's the respect he demands from his teammates that allows people to really want him to be a leader."
Because of the long road back from his injury two years ago, the senior has not seen much time on the mound. This season, Scholly has made four game appearances, which is the most he has had in a single collegiate season. What Scholly has learned during his time at Penn State though, is that he is capable of bringing so much to a team even if he is not able to be on the mound.
"Obviously, I love being on the mound," Scholly said. "We've definitely have had some bumps and bruises along the way, but you have to keep a positive mindset. I'd much rather have team success than individual success. So, if I have to go out there to help the team on the mound, I'm willing to do that. But, if I have to help the team in the dugout and try to get us motivated and help the team off the field, I definitely willing to do that as well."
When Scholly graduates at the end of the season, Cooper said the thing the team will miss the most is his sacrifice.
"The selflessness that he brings everyday will be missed," Cooper said. "I know he wants to pitch more, but his attitude is always upbeat. It's hard to do that. Some kids will just focus on wanting to pitch more, but Tim Scholly has a sincere impact on this team. You don't get someone every day who truly cares about the team more than their own benefit. I think that selflessness and commitment to doing whatever he can to help the team is something that this team is definitely going to miss."