Rock Bridge coach Terry Whitney was standing in his team’s bullpen watching his freshman-and-sophomore team play Hickman on Tuesday when Scott Reller’s name was brought up.
“What a jerk,” Whitney said, laughing. “No, he’s a very, very, very hard worker. I said that three times, didn’t I? That’s how hard of a worker he is.”
Reller, a senior pitcher and captain for the Bruins, brings many facets to the game, but Whitney sees some of the biggest contributions in his leadership abilities.
“Scott is a very good leader because the way he plays the game,” Whitney said.
“He runs everything out. When he’s not playing, he chases foul balls. He’s the first one out of the dugout to greet people.”
In his two years on varsity, Reller has seen his role change multiple times and has used his hard work and dedication to adapt.
As a junior, Reller mainly pitched in the set-up position, appearing in 12 games.
“I like relieving,” Reller said. “It’s something that I’m used to (from playing summer ball), and I’m able to get loose quick.”
Reller said that he loves being in the position of closing games, and the pressure of pitching late in the games doesn’t bother him.
“It’s what you live for,” Reller said. “You live for the fifth, sixth and seventh innings; going out there and trying to shut people down. I like being in with the game on the line.”
Reller began his season as a starter and has played some first base, but for the remainder of the season, Whitney sees him contributing mostly as a closer to get the Bruins through some tough innings.
“He’s so valuable because he can throw just about everyday,” Whitney said.
On the mound this year, Reller has a 3-2 record, including three complete games, and his 27 innings are a team high.
“Scotty’s not going to fool a lot of people, but he’s becoming a better and better pitcher,” Whitney said. “He knows how to pitch now, and I think that he’s learned that over the past few years.”
Reller said that it doesn’t matter whether he starts or closes the game. He just wants his team to succeed.
“Right now, I’m going back and forth, but whatever is best for the team,” Reller said. “Whatever is going to help us get some W’s.”
Reller knew going into the season that his leadership would be an integral part of his team’s success, both vocally and by example.
“Last year, I was able to just do my job, and we had guys in front of me. But this year, I have to help the younger guys come around.” he said. “That’s something that I’m learning on the job.”
Whitney said that he hopes the younger players mimic Reller’s actions.
Sophomore pitcher Ben Martin is one player Reller has helped.
During the off-season, Reller said they synchronized their workout schedules to help each other out.
“He’s taken Ben under his wing. He’s taken the other left-handed pitchers,” Whitney said. “When he works with those guys, he’s really good about explaining what to do.”
Next season, Reller is going to play for Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
Reller said knowing some of the players from the program made it appealing.
Whitney doesn’t think Reller will have any problems adjusting to the next level.
“Scotty works very hard at what he does. It doesn’t come easy, and he works on it. He’s been like that since I’ve known him. He’s always one of the first ones to come and last to leave all four years.
“He plays the game the way you’re supposed to play the game of baseball,” he said. “He loves being here.”