South/West Xtra: South Side Beaver grad finds familiar home with Wild Things

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Not long after Rockford Aviators third baseman Edgar Corcino launched his first home run of the year over the wall at Consol Energy Park in the fifth inning of Sunday's game, Washington Wild Things starting pitcher Scott Dunn made the long walk from the pitcher's mound to the dugout that no starting pitcher wants to endure in a game the Wild Things would eventually lose, 8-5.

But if there was any anger, it didn't show as Dunn, a native of Clinton, was already looking ahead to his next starting assignment, which is scheduled to take place Friday when the Wild Things host the Windy City Thunderbolts.

"You have to move on and prepare for your next outing and get your head straight," said Dunn, 26, who came to the Wild Things after four seasons with the Traverse City, Mich., Beach Bums.

In 2013, Dunn had a spectacular season that netted him a 15-1 record. He was the starting pitcher for the East Division team in the 2013 Frontier League All-Star Game that was played at Consol Energy Park.

This season, Dunn is 1-1 with a 6.60 earned run average in 15 innings pitched. He has struck out nine and walked just one, although that one walk preceded Corcino's home run, the fourth home run Dunn has surrendered this season.

Those statistics are likely to improve as Dunn's earned run average a year ago with Traverse City was 2.60 in 1241/3 innings pitched.

One of the first things to cross Dunn's mind is that he would be pitching in front of family and friends at Consol Energy Park, which is just 45 minutes from his home in Clinton.

Something else also impressed Dunn.

"It's a lot warmer [in Washington]," said Dunn, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound right-hander. "You don't think about it until you are actually there. Now, my father doesn't have to drive 81/2 hours to see me pitch, and I think all of [my family] were ecstatic."

Jack Dunn, Scott Dunn's father, appreciates that 2014 won't mean as much wear and tear on himself or his car.

"I'd still follow his career no matter where he's at," said Jack Dunn, who coached Scott in youth baseball from the time he was 8 until he was 11.

"There was nothing else I could teach him," Jack Dunn said. "He was teaching me at that point."

Dunn, a 2005 South Side Beaver High School graduate, won't overpower hitters with a blazing fastball, but he has command of several pitches to keep him ahead of most hitters.

"My first couple of years I was at Traverse City, [my fastball] was in the low 90s," Dunn said. "But the hitters were getting better, and I knew I had to pitch better, or I'd be out of a job.

"So, I started throwing a two-seamer and I started getting a lot more groundballs. That's how I stayed alive, and I've learned to throw everything. That includes a change-up, a curve and a slider along with the fastball."

The late Joe Colella, who was Dunn's coach when he pitched for the Hopewell American Legion team, was instrumental in developing Dunn's career.

"He started teaching [Scott] how to throw different pitches when he got into American Legion ball when he was about 15 years old," Jack Dunn said.

Former Pirates pitching coach Ray Miller adopted the mantra: "Work fast, change speeds and throw strikes." Dunn said he tries to live up to that philosophy.

Dunn, who also played at Marietta College and Slippery Rock University, is in his fifth season of professional baseball, all at the independent league level, and he'd love the opportunity to try his luck with a team that is tied to a Major League Baseball franchise.

Right now, though, he likes the team he's with and its coaches.

"This team has the best chemistry of any team I've been with," he said. "We're not far from doing some good things here and if we keep doing the things we've been doing, we won't have a problem."

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