Waterford's Burrows takes an even-keeled approach to learning with Schooners
Groton — Don’t ever expect to see Jared Burrows throw his glove in disgust after a rough outing or curse his way from the pitching mound to the dugout.
Burrows follows his parents’ advice when it comes to dealing with failure.
“I just try to deal with failure the right way, which is not getting all mad and slamming stuff,” Burrows said. “Home runs and mistakes are going to happen, especially at this level. I’ve just got to be able to deal with the right way and just move on to the next pitch.
“It’s just something my parents have taught me since day one. They’re big on helping me learn through failure instead of just getting mad at it. Success can’t come without failure.”
Burrows has tasted far more success than failure on the baseball field. During a stellar high school career, he helped Waterford High School win two state championships and earned Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2020.
His parents’ advice has come in handy for Burrows as he adjusts to playing on a higher level, first pitching for Division I Hartford as a freshman in the spring and now for the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
For the Schooners, Burrows, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound right-hander, is primarily a relief pitcher but also has served as a designated hitter and played second base. He’s made two appearances out of the bullpen, allowing four earned in three innings while walking two and striking out one.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Burrows said. “The competition is great. It’s going to help me get better and to prepare myself for next season in college.”
Both pitching coach Dennis Long and manager Phil Orbe are impressed with the way Burrows goes about his business, including when things don’t go his way.
“Overcoming failure is part of baseball,” Long said before Mystic’s game against Danbury Wednesday at Fitch High School. “Making adjustments is really the key. I always say that it’s not the bad pitch, it’s the pitch after the bad pitch that counts. What do you do to fix it?
“Jared has a good feel for that. He’s receptive to suggestions on maybe finding more velocity or making an adjustment on a curveball.”
Case in point: Burrows’ relief appearance against Newport on Sunday.
Long visited the mound after a loud out, suggesting to Burrows to elevate his fast ball out of the strike zone and then come back with a curveball. Burrows promptly retired the next two batters in his only inning.
Just another example of Burrows’ coachability.
“He’s been all about taking it all in, learning, trying to get better each day, even on the side,” Long said. “He definitely deserves a chance to show what he can do as a starter. The ability to compete, he’s got that. I think that’s just born in him. A lot of guys are chasing the metrics. He doesn’t chase metrics. He tries to get batters out, that’s what I like.
“I think he’s going to have a good summer here.”
As one of 21 pitchers on the roster, Burrows has to wait his turn. He had to do the same thing during his first year at Hartford.
Burrows pitched only 8.1 innings for Hartford in his first season. He went 1-1 and had a save, allowing 11 earned runs while walking six and striking out eight.
“Hartford, baseball-wise, is on the rise,” Orbe said. “He’s in a really good spot. I know they like him. Being a two-way player in high school, which was well-deserved, maybe didn’t prepare him as well for just being an arm here his first year.
“By all reports, they’re going to give him a chance to get some at-bats.”
When the Schooners were short-handed earlier this season, Burrows filled in as designated hitter and also played one game at second base. In 15 plate appearances, Burrows went 2-for-12 with two RBI.
Burrows will focus on pitching the rest of the summer.
Orbe looks forward to seeing what Burrows can accomplish this season.
“He goes out and just does his job,” Orbe said. “Very blue collar. He puts his work in. He doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot. … He doesn’t really get rattled. He gave up a long home run on Martha’s Vineyard in his first outing. When he came in the dugout, you wouldn’t know if he gave up four runs without getting an out or if he struck out three guys with 12 pitches.
“That’s going to help him not just in baseball, that’s going to help him in life having that kind of perspective.”
Burrows’ future is a bit cloudy after the news earlier this year that Hartford plans to downgrade from Division I to Division III.
"It’s a very unfortunate situation,” Burrows said. “I feel bad not only for myself but for my teammates and coaches as well.”
He’s yet to make a decision about where he’ll play baseball.
“I’m really not sure right now,” Burrows said. “It’s just a conversation that I’ve got to have with my family and about what’s best for me.”
As far as Wednesday's game, five Mystic pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout, beating Danbury 3-0 to improve to 7-6 overall. Barry Walsh (Boston College) had two hits, including a solo home run.