Even though he won't be returning to the mound for Penn, Christian Scafidi isn't done with baseball just yet.
After most of his senior season was canceled, the 2019 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year has announced he will transfer to ACC power Notre Dame for his extra year of eligibility.
This path was not the original plan for Scafidi, though, and only through a series of events did things unfold as they did.
"My mind was not on [transferring]," he said. "I had every intention to finish out the season and then see where baseball might take me."
After the Ivy League ruled that athletes who lost a year of eligibility from the COVID-19 pandemic could not return after their graduation, Scafidi chose to enter the transfer portal. Impressed by his standout years with the Quakers, a number of Power Five schools took notice and courted the Blackwood, N.J. native.
In the end, the South Bend, Ind. school won out.
"I narrowed it down to a couple of schools at the end", Scafidi said. "I had talked to some other schools in the ACC as well, and it showed me that it was a level I believe I could compete at. How can I pass up a school with such rich history and tradition of faith, which is something that's been so important to me and guided my career, on top of a great baseball program?"
The change in scenery isn't the only transition Scafidi will be making. While getting used to his new surroundings, the ace will also get set to depart from the Ivy League and face national-caliber competition on a regular basis.
But he is eager for the challenge.
"I think there's gonna be an adjustment, but I truly believe that the coaches and schools would not have called if they didn't believe I could succeed there," he said. "I have every belief in myself and my abilities that I will be able to go to that level and compete."
Scafidi has been a valuable asset for the Red and Blue since his freshman season, when he made 10 appearances in relief. He entered the starting rotation sophomore year and has not left since, making 21 starts over his final three seasons.
It was his junior year that set him apart from all other Ancient Eight competition, however. Scafidi went 6-1 on the season, compiling a League-low earned run average of 2.62 across 68.2 innings pitched.
The two-year captain was all set to follow the same path of success in his senior season, collecting a win in both games he started — the series openers at Kennesaw State and Florida International — and not allowing any earned runs in either.
Notre Dame has struggled in ACC play recently and has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2015, but the team looked promising with an 11-2 record in 2020. With Scafidi on their side next season, the Irish will look to break through for good.
When looking back at his time at Penn, the four-year veteran will remember a bittersweet end, but an unforgettable time while it lasted.
"I went through the recruiting process with baseball and college once, but I never thought I'd have to do it again," Scafidi said. "[Penn] became literally a second home to me … I don't know if it's cliche, but I'm gonna miss everything about it. Coming to terms with having to transfer was one of the hardest things I've had to do just because of how much pride I have in the Penn name."
While his Red and Blue uniform may be hung up for good, it won't be too long before Scafidi is back on the mound and raring to go again.
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