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Shady Side Academy's Scales taking skills to Bucknell

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Shady Side Academy's Chuckie Scales scores the winning run behind Bobcats' Scott Thompson at the PIAA baseball playoff game Monday in Homer City.

Chuckie Scales has been a fixture in center field for the Shady Side Academy varsity baseball team for the past few years.

Starting in the fall of 2014, Scales will be patrolling the outfield for Bucknell University.

The speedy senior recently gave a verbal commitment to Bucknell.

“They had shown an interest in me for awhile,” he said. “I was considering other schools such as Columbia, Harvard and Ohio State but I felt very satisfied with what Bucknell could offer me academically, athletically and socially.”

Scales said he believes the Bucknell baseball program, coming off a successful season that ended in the Patriot League playoffs, is a program on the rise.

“They're a solid team and I hope to contribute to the team as a freshman,” Scales said. “I'll work as hard as I can and see what happens. Hopefully, I'll compete for a starting position.”

Last year, Scales hit .423, scored 29 runs and stole 24 bases. He also added versatility to his resume as he moved from center field to shortstop when starting shortstop Paul McCullough was pitching.

“Playing shortstop was a lot of fun but I like to think of myself as a center fielder,” Scales said. “That's where I'll be this year unless something happens and the team needs me to switch.”

SSA coach Bob Grandizio Jr. was pleased with how Scales adapted to the infield.

“He worked hard to become a good shortstop because it meant a lot to the team,” Grandizio said. “Eventually, he became a really good shortstop. I believe that he could play shortstop in college, but he is a better center fielder and he's really comfortable out there.”

Grandizio said that Bucknell got themselves quite a player.

“Chuckie is the prototypical leadoff hitter and having one on your team is really important,” Grandizio said. “He is as fast as any player I have ever been around and he is a smart base runner. He knows how to get on base with bunts, walks and by hitting to all fields. He's worked hard at that.”

Grandizio said Scales also has some pop in his bat.

“He was a unanimous choice for captain, because in addition to his great skills, he has earned the respect of his teammates thanks to his hard work,” Grandizio said. “He leads by example.”

Scales wants to work on a few things before he heads to Bucknell.

“Well, team-wise, I want to help us have a great season,” he said. “Individually I want to work on driving the ball into the gaps, increasing my speed, getting better jumps on the ball and reading pitchers better.”

He is also bucking a family tradition. His grandfather, Charlie, played in the NFL — mainly for the Browns and also for a brief time with the Steelers.

His father, Chuck, was a wide receiver at Pitt.

“I played football until my junior year at Shady Side Academy but after that I decided that baseball was the sport I wanted to concentrate on,” Scales said.

Grandizio and Bucknell are glad he did.

“We're going to miss him when he is gone,” Grandizio said.

Scales plans to major in chemical engineering.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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