Tennessee Vols Christian Scott's game-ending catch worth $1,000 — and a lot more | Adams

Tennessee left fielder Christian Scott made a money catch Sunday in Gainesville, Florida. And he’s being rewarded for it.

So is his dad.

Scott closed out Tennessee baseball’s 6-4, 11-inning comeback with a spectacular catch of what appeared to be a two-out home run by Florida. He leaped above the fence, pulled the ball back into the park, and the Vols clinched a three-game series sweep.

“When I saw the ball in the air, I thought that it might have a chance to get out,” Scott told the News Sentinel on Monday.

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Scott has long practiced making a play just like that. And he was determined to finally pull it off, which helped explain his enthusiastic response that concluded No. 1 Tennessee’s third sweep of an SEC road series this season.

He immediately locked eyes with center fielder Drew Gilbert and ran toward his nearest teammate for a celebratory chest bump.

In Clarksville, Christian’s father, Bert, was celebrating, too, as he watched the game-ending out on television. Bert would have more to celebrate by the end of the day.

“I told him I would give him the ball,” said Christian, a former standout at Rossview. “He was pumped. He loves mementos. He has all my bats and all my home run balls going back to middle school.” Tennessee baseball player Christian Scott and his father, Bert. Bert will have to wait a few days for the ball, though. A business deal will have to be consummated first.

Friendsofbasevols.com, a website created to raise NIL money for Tennessee baseball players, is giving Christian $1,000 for the ball. But it won’t keep the ball.

Knoxville businessman Craig Jenkins, who started the website, said the ball will be presented to Bert after Saturday’s game against Auburn at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Bert said the ball would mean as much as the $1,000 one day.

“Kids don’t understand how important memories are,” said Bert, who raised Christian as a single parent while running a business. “Memories draw interest that money can’t buy.”

That belief helps explain why their home is full of Christian's baseball memorabilia.

Baseball always has been a collaborative effort between the Scotts. They decided when Christian was 12 he should set aside a promising football career and focus solely on baseball. And when Christian started out as a first baseman, Bert assured him that wouldn’t be his final position.

“You will be an outfielder,” Bert told him. “With the speed and agility you have, you have to be an outfielder.” Tennessee baseball:Lake Worth's Jorel Ortega emerges as hottest hitter on top-ranked Vols Bert said his son has a 52-inch “box vertical jump.” But there was more to the game-ending catch against Florida than sheer ability. No matter how tired from work Bert was, he always made time for his young son at the end of a long day. That time usually included baseball.

A backyard hill was part of their practice field. Christian would stand on the hill, which was steep enough that he couldn’t see his father below. “When he tossed the ball, I couldn’t see him or the ball,” Christian said. “I would just have to look up in the air and catch it.” Those tracking skills paid off Sunday when Christian stole a home run from the Gators. It happened in a flash but was years in the making.