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Notre Dame Baseball

Grad Transfer Christian Scafidi Fired Up for Opportunity at Notre Dame

June 5, 2020
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Notre Dame baseball has been very active in the Transfer Portal to fill out its 2021 roster and graduate transfer Christian Scafidi can make an impact right away. 

The NCAA granted Scafidi an extra of eligibility following his senior year being cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2019 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year made the tough decision to enter the portal. 

"With our season being canceled and everything that happened with that, I entered the Transfer Portal a week or two after to explore all my options," Scafidi told Irish Sports Daily. "Once the NCAA gave us the year back, I could have gone back to Penn or transferred out. I had a couple responses from coaches and then one of our assistants from called and asked what I thought about Notre Dame because he knew the assistant coaches. He told me he trusted them and they were great people and coaches.

"I trusted my coaches at Penn that they had my best interests at heart. When you hear Notre Dame, it speaks for itself in a sense. They reached out and it kind of took off from there." 

Scafidi will be the first to admit he had mixed feelings about entering the transfer portal, but at the end of the day, the New Jersey native had to see what opportunities could be available. 

"I had a little concern when I was going through the process that my coaches at Penn may have felt betrayed, or I was doing the wrong thing by looking to transfer and seeing what was out there," Scafidi explained. "They were all super helpful. At first, it was weird for me, but they expressed how much they would love for me to come back. At the end of the day, they told me they wanted the best opportunity for me and what would move me forward in my career. 

"It really speaks to the great coaches and people that they are. None of us expected this, but they were behind me and rooting for me. It's great to know the kind of people they are and wanted the best for me." 

While Scafidi had mixed feelings about potentially leaving Penn, the other part of him was curious to see his value. An experienced pitcher with a 2.62 ERA is coveted and Scafidi quickly found that out. 

"It was almost enticing to enter the portal to see what teams were out there and who might be interested," said Scafidi. "It came down to administrators, compliance and coaches - making the final decision I decided I had to leave and confirming that to myself was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make. 

"It was even harder than picking a school in the first place. I had so much invested in the school and entering the portal is different. You can enter, but you can always go back. Once I said I'm deciding to transfer and accept this offer, there was no going back. To take that possibility off the table definitely a little scary because of everything I had built at Penn with the coaches and my teammates." 

Notre Dame's coaching staff made an impression from day one as they already had the backing up his coaches at Penn, but also because of Scafidi felt they genuinely cared about him.

"It started off knowing people that had been so good to me the last four years expressed the same trust in Notre Dame's coaches," Scafidi stated. "Then it was on me to build that rapport on my own. The first person I talked to was Coach (Rich) Wallace. The first conversation with Coach (Chuck) Ristano, he's an East Coast guy who has been around Jersey. He's a Devils fan and I'm a Flyers fan, so we started off bonding over that. 

"We got down to the nitty-gritty of it and started talking more baseball. By the end of the process, he was sharing fun facts about his family. He and his kids love the Rocky movies. My dad grew up in South Philly and my dad's uncle was actually in the movie, so we connected over that.

"We talked about his philosophy with pitching and it seemed to be similar to what I knew and what helped me grow so much at Penn. Being able to hear all of the things they have going on, tools and things they have to help develop players and a winning program put the icing on the cake for me."

In a similar fashion to Furman grad transfer Michael Bertrand, Scafidi pitched against Jarrett in the past. Penn didn't win, but Scafidi holds bragging right as he left the game with the lead. 

"I actually pitched against Coach Jarrett when he was at UNC Greensboro," stated Scafidi. "I also played with his son in the Coastal Plains League two summers ago, so we had crossed paths multiple times. It's super exciting to be part of a program that's looking to compete at the highest level possible." 

The final call was an easy one after Scafidi got to know the staff and even his parents saw it coming from the first time he spoke with Notre Dame. 

"I knew they cared about me as a person," Scafidi said. "They told me they called people to see who I was as a person before they got into me as a player. The relationship aspect was super important because that's how I grew and succeeded at Penn. I felt comfortable from the first conversation. Even my parents said the first conversation I had with Notre Dame, my tone was a little more comfortable and I was a little more open and not so much scripted."

Scafidi is also excited to play in the ACC, but also to help take Notre Dame to the next level. The 11-2 start by the Fighting Irish caught Scafidi's eye and hopes to leave his mark over the next year. 

"When I spoke with Coach Jarrett and all the coaches, I got the feeling they were trying to take the program a step further than the direction they already were," said Scafidi. "They started ACC play by sweeping UNC and I think they were Top 30-35 in the country. The results are there and that's an exciting thing to hear from a competition standpoint. To be able to come into a program like that and have a program like that express they want you to play for them - it's a higher level of competition. 

"All those things came together and I know it will be a journey, but it's a place I can succeed. The program is in a good spot to win and to be able to come in and make an impact right away to take the program in the right direction was so exciting."

Irish Sports Daily
Christian Scafidi Career Stats 

 

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Grad Transfer Christian Scafidi Fired Up for Opportunity at Notre Dame

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