Baseball: Scott Dragicevich
May 10, 2002
Omaha, the city that has built up a reputation and mystique based on its annual hosting of the College World Series, is a special place for every college baseball player. It is the pinnacle of the sport and the benchmark of a successful season. To Stanford third baseman Scott Dragicevich, Omaha embodies the challenges and rewards of collegiate baseball.
Dragicevich has traveled there for the past three seasons and as one of six seniors on the Cardinal squad, he is trying to lead Stanford to Omaha again for an unprecedented fourth year in a row.
'It is a mixed blessing because it is so special for us to have the chance to go to Omaha four years in a row, but we also have to remember how difficult it is to get there,' said Dragicevich. 'If we are going to make it, we are going to have to peak at the right time, play well down the stretch, and make the right adjustments.'
Dragicevich has already had to make several adjustments personally this season. After 91 straight starts at shortstop, Dragicevich didn't play against Texas on March 29 and then went 3-14 in his next five starts. He didn't start the following nine games, before breaking back into the lineup on April 28 against Oregon State, starting for the first time in his career at third base and going 3-for-5. But Dragicevich, who is hitting .331 on the season, truly returned to form during last weekend's series against California.
'Cal is always a big weekend for us as our rivals,' said the Westlake, Calif. native. 'No matter how they are playing during the season, they always play well against us. It is just a fun weekend.'
On Friday, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles before hitting his first career grand slam and first home run of the season to key a 13-6 comeback win on Saturday. He finished up the weekend with another home run during Sunday's series finale, lifting Stanford to a sweep over its local Pac-10 rival.
'It was just one of those things where I was in the right place in the right time,' said Dragicevich about the grand slam. 'The team was down one run at the time and scoring was the most important thing. Trevor Hutchinson is an excellent pitcher and to come back and beat a pitcher like that was great for our team.'
Now it is up to Dragicevich and the other experienced seniors on the team to lead Stanford through the final three weeks of Pac-10 action as the Cardinal prepares for the playoffs.
'As a senior, you look around the field and think 'I can do this' and whatever struggles you have and whatever obstacles you have to overcome, you know you can because you've done it before,' said Dragicevich.
Dragicevich, who was a key player in Stanford's playoff run last year, had an excellent season defensively and put together three separate streaks of 10 or more consecutive error-free games en route to his .952 season fielding percentage. Dragicevich, who hit for a .320 average and notched 34 RBI last season, also made one of the team's most memorable plays of the year when he snagged a line drive for the final out of the NCAA Super Regional, clinching a 3-2 win over South Carolina and sending Stanford to the College World Series - a moment that Dragicevich calls his favorite Stanford memory.
'It was the greatest feeling to realize that this group of guys, my best friends, had reached this goal that we had been pursuing for so long,' said Dragicevich. 'Hopefully we will be able to do it again this year, but last year's run was tremendous and a lot of fun.'
As Dragicevich looks forward to the end of this year and toward the landmark goal of traveling to Omaha all four years of his career, he also has to face the end of his time at Stanford, another place that has been particularly special for him.
'I am going to miss meeting the wide variety of people. I don't know of another place in the world where you have such a diverse mix of people with different strengths, weaknesses, goals, and backgrounds,' said the Economics major. 'Stanford is a great place and it has been the perfect match for me, and I will miss it.'
by Amanda Canevaro