WATERFORD, Conn. (BVM) — Jared Burrows would’ve preferred to have the opportunity to play his senior season with his Waterford Lancer teammates. But at the same time, the Hartford University-bound ace couldn’t have had a much better end to his high school baseball career.
It was the final game of the 2019 season — the Class L state championship.
“It was probably one of the best games I’ve ever played,” Burrows said. “The last game I had with all of my teammates was definitely a really good one to go out on.”
Burrows tossed a three-hit shutout as the Lancers defeated Berlin, 1-0, to capture the state title. The sparkling final performance capped a stellar junior season in which Burrows went 6-2 with a 0.74 ERA, 89 strikeouts and just six walks in 61 innings pitched.
Waterford and every other high school saw its 2020 spring sports season wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Gatorade still decided to recognize those athletes around the country and Burrows was honored as the Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year.
“I’m glad that my hard work has paid off with an award like this,” Burrows said, “and my name is now up there with a lot of really great ballplayers.”
Lancers head coach Art Peluso believes that if the season hadn’t been lost, Burrows would’ve been the most dominant player in the state.
“If you were playing for a state championship, you would want him to be on the mound,” Peluso said. “It would be difficult for someone else to beat him.”
Peluso said that Burrows’ makeup set him apart from most of his peers.
“He never really gets flustered,” Peluso said. “He trusts his talent. He trusts the hard work that he put in. He never really shows any emotion. He’s kind of just even-keeled. He never called out anyone, never complained about pitches that he thought were strikes. He kind of just stays above the fray.”
The Lancers had a good chance to defend their title with most of their state championship squad still intact. Peluso said the 11 seniors he was returning was the most he’s ever had.
“They knew they were going to be good,” Peluso said. “We probably would have been one of the best teams in the state if not the best team in the state, but you’ve still got to play the games.”
Burrows had been playing with most of his teammates since he was 12 years old.
“We’ve always been really successful, but ever since we were young we’ve been waiting for senior year,” Burrows said. “It really did suck that it had to get canceled because we knew that this year was going to be one of the best years we’ve ever played together. … I would definitely trade this award for having another full season with my teammates.”
While Jared moves on to college, his younger sister Maddie will still have two more years to build on a strong start to her high school career. A day after the Lancers baseball team captured the state title last year, Maddie, then a freshman, was the winning pitcher for the softball team as it claimed a state title of its own.
“I hope her career follows a similar path as mine,” Jared said, “and has as much, if not more, success than I have.”
Jared, ranked No. 36 among senior prospects in New England by Prep Baseball Report, hopes his success leads to an opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing Major League Baseball.
“I have my sights set high,” said Jared, whose cousin, Mike, is a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. “I want to push myself to work hard and continue to get better.”
Peluso said he can see Jared improving enough to become an MLB draft pick, and he wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in an MLB front office someday.
“I can also see Jared as a general manager,” Peluso said. “He’s just a really intelligent kid. I tell people he doesn’t need baseball, but baseball needs him. He’s in a real good situation. … He’s kind of the whole package.”