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Keene State's "Mo" Making Her Own Home Run History

KEENE, N.H., 3/20/08 - Not so long ago, the Boston Red Sox had a “Mo” known for launching his share of home runs at Fenway Park.

These days, Keene State College has its own “Mo,” who has also gained notoriety for her ability to go deep at Owl Athletic Complex.

“My dad called me Mo because his favorite player was Mo Vaughn,” said Melissa “Mo” Scata. “It just stuck. I don’t answer to Melissa that much. Only my mom calls me Melissa.”

Mo Scata is about to make softball home run history at Keene State. The senior catcher from Medway, Massachusetts, went into the season just three home runs shy of the school’s career record of 24 set by Carrah Fisk, the niece of former Sox star and Hall of Famer Carleton Fisk.

Scata didn’t waste any time going after the record this season. In the first game of the Owls’ spring week trip to Fort Myers last week, the strong-willed Scata connected for her first round-tripper of the season against Illinois College. Because the field didn’t have a fence, Scata had to leg-it around the bases.

“When I rounded third, Coach (Charlie) Beach had me speed it up a little,” Scata said. “Last year, I was thrown out at the plate. I wasn’t letting that happen again.”

Beach says he has done much to change her mechanics at the plate. “I just let her swing the bat,” he said. “She has a great compact swing and good bat velocity.”

Scata began hitting home runs playing in the Medway Little League. Later switching to softball, she played in the town league in the spring and a travel team, the Franklin Thunder and Lightning, on the weekends.

Looking to hone her skills, Scata, along with her father, Phil, attended several clinics at Planet Fast Pitch in Uxbridge.

Scata’s hard work paid off. She was a four-time Tri-Valley league all-star at Medway High and was named the Mustangs’ MVP in her final two seasons.

“I didn’t hit many home runs in high school because most of the field didn’t have fences,” said Scata. “I’m not the fastest runner going around the bases.”

Scata originally chose Keene State because of its education program. She later learned that her cousin, Rob Colbert, was the men’s basketball coach at the College.

Scata cracked seven home runs as a freshman and was named to the All-Little East first team. She followed that up with a super sophomore season, earning All-LEC honors again with 12 home runs and tying an Owl record with 41 RBIs.

Although she batted .340 last spring, Mo’s power number fell significantly. “I think it was the combination of not getting good pitches to hit and trying too hard for the long ball,” said Sacta, who finished with just two home runs.

Scata said she will take a different approach this season. “I’m not going to push it,” she said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball hard. When the record comes, it comes.”

Scata, who should also finish among the top three Owls in career RBIs, has let her bat do the talking so far this season. During the team’s recently completed trip, she batted a scortching .529 with a home run and 11 RBIs.

A team player also known for her fine defensive skills behind the plate, Scata, now a management major at KSC, isn’t caught up in the home run chase.

“It’s all about the team as far as Mo is concerned,” said Beach. “She never discusses statistics with me.”

Although the career home run record would be nice to add to her long list of KSC softball accolades, her main focus is getting the team back to the NCAA tournament. “I’ve been there twice, and I want to go back again,” said Scata, one of seven seniors on the Keene State roster. “I want to end my career in style.”

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435