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Waterford's Burrows named Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year

The crowded walls of the place affectionately known as "The X" got more cramped Thursday, a new banner forthcoming even without a spring of high school sports.

Waterford's Jared Burrows, named the 2020 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Connecticut, will be immortalized on the walls of the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse. Burrows joins a number of other Waterford athletes to win the honor in several other sports, including 2010 baseball winner Colin O'Keefe.

"What an honor," Burrows said Thursday, after just finishing an online English exam. "We're all disappointed that we didn't get a season, but this is something I can share with all my coaches and teammates."

Gatorade decided to honoring its spring student-athletes despite not being able to play this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Burrows, a right-handed pitcher headed to the University of Hartford, was the winning pitcher in last season's Class L championship game. His 10-strikeout, complete game shutout over Berlin, buoyed by Cadin Maynard's RBI single in the seventh inning, gave the Lancers a 1-0 win over Berlin and the school's state-best 11th championship.

"I'm so happy for him," Waterford coach Art Peluso said. "His talent speaks for itself. But what I'll remember most about Jared is the way he carried that talent. The most unassuming kid you'll ever meet. He's in that Walker Sutman (a 2018 grad playing at Fairfield) mold. Just a special kid."

Gatorade incorporates athletics, academics and citizenship into its choices.

Burrows was 6-2 in 2019 with a 0.74 earned run average, walking but six 61 innings with 89 strikeouts. He also hit .325 with four home runs and 17 RBI.

Burrows will also graduate with a 3.98 grade point average. He has tutored elementary school students in Spanish and has volunteered at the New London Community Meal Center and in youth sports programs around Waterford.

Burrows becomes the fifth player from the Eastern Connecticut Conference to win the award since it began 1986, joining New London's Brian Mercado (1987), Norwich Free Academy's Andrew Carignan (2004) and Fitch's Matt Harvey (2007).

"I remember before the championship game last year asking my brother (assistant coach Marc Peluso) how Jared looked in the bullpen," Peluso said. "He gets this huge smirk and goes, 'it's not good.' He meant not good for Berlin."

Burrows leaves Waterford as half of a history-making brother-sister act. One day after Burrows beat Berlin last June, his sister, Maddie Burrows, was the winning pitcher in the softball team's state title victory.

"This award makes me realize how much hard work pays off," Jared Burrows said. "It was a great career and a great time at Waterford. We all wish we could have seen how good our team could have been this year."

Burrows, rated as the No. 36 senior prospect in New England by Prep Baseball Report, becomes eligible for the National Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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