Local J.C. baseball trio continuing careers at four-year colleges
Spencer Serven was just a freshman at Fountain Valley High School when he journeyed to Goodwin Field to take in a baseball game at the 2015 Fullerton Regional.
His cousin, Brian Serven, was a standout catcher for Arizona State and a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award that season. The Sun Devils would fall to host Cal State Fullerton in 14 innings.
Since that late spring night, Spencer Serven has had his heart set on going as far as he can in baseball. He wants to play in the NCAA Division I college baseball postseason, and if possible, he would like to follow in his cousin’s footsteps by playing professional baseball. Brian Serven was taken in the fifth round (140th overall) of the 2016 MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies.
When Spencer Serven transferred to Edison as a junior, he made an immediate impact. He hit a home run in Edison’s first-round win at Long Beach Wilson in the 2017 CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. The Chargers would go on to make the quarterfinals.
Starting his college career, Serven reunited with Edison teammate Carson Letterman at Cypress College. Serven hit .340 with three home runs, 18 runs scored and 12 runs batted in before COVID-19 canceled the spring season.
The eligibility of nearly 9,500 junior college athletes competing in spring sports was restored via a vote by the California Community College Athletic Assn. board of directors following the cancellation of the season.
“Everyone feels like their season should have went longer…, but when you’re away from your teammates, you realize that you might take for granted the time being with them,” Serven said. “Even if it’s tough because it is hard work and stuff, you do kind of take for granted sometimes the camaraderie with your teammates and the off-the-field stuff.
“When the season gets canceled, it doesn’t cancel your friendship, but it kind of hurts it a little bit because it’s hard to see everyone all the time.”
Serven will be a redshirt freshman when he joins the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, and he will not be going alone. Letterman has also signed with the Vaqueros, who were co-champions of the Western Athletic Conference along with New Mexico State and Cal Baptist for the 2019 season.
“We did talk about [playing together],” Serven, an outfielder who is majoring in communication, said of playing with Letterman yet again. “We talked about the blue-collar mentality, and the culture down in South Texas is something that we both gravitate towards.”
Letterman batted .378 in 21 games for Cypress in the spring. He scored 22 runs and drew more walks (15) than strikeouts (11). He is an infielder and is majoring in mathematics.
“Moving onto a four-year university has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Letterman said. “When I blew my knee out senior year, I thought my baseball career was over. It was a tough time for me. Now, I’m in the position to compete at a Division I school. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
After spending his high school years at a boarding school in Indiana, Newport Beach native Hayden Schott returned home to play baseball at Cypress College. He will now be moving back across the country, as he has committed to play baseball at Columbia University.
Dealing with the Indiana winters has prepared Schott for this next step.
“We were really struggling to kind of get on the field, so we did a lot of indoor stuff, which I was never used to,” Schott said. “It just made me adapt to a life that I obviously hadn’t ever experienced before.”
The freshman outfielder batted .317. He scored 18 runs to go with 17 RBIs, five doubles, one triple and a home run across 18 games for Cypress.
Schott, who plans to pursue a degree in economics, said that there was a negative stigma about attending and competing at a junior college growing up. He did not want to put a cap on his potential, but he had a positive experience and would recommend it to anyone who asked about it.
“It’s a much better way to meet your end goal than trying to just rush into it out of high school, maybe ending up at a four-year that’s not where you wanted to end up, [or] somewhere where you’re not going to play for the first couple of years anyway,” Schott added.
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