Prep baseball: Jourdan develops into stalwart on the mound
It happens to them all.
A fastball over the middle of the plate.
A hanging curveball.
A changeup that doesn't fool someone.
Then it happens.
Bye-bye. Ding-dong. Home run.
It's the most humbling part of the game for a pitcher, so imagine how Syracuse pitcher Jason Jourdan felt when he gave up two grand slams in the first inning of his first varsity start.
Every pitcher gets rocked at some point. It is how a pitcher responds after a bad start that determines his success.
"It was hard what happened to me in my first start," he said. "It was one of the toughest things I've been through, but it made me tough. My mentality on the mound completely changed from freshman to junior year. I've learned that I don't have to strike people out. I throw strikes and let defense do the job behind me."
Jourdan has responded so well since his first start as a freshman that he's become an ace in the Titans program and signed with Salt Lake Community College.
"He's not afraid of the moment or the situation, and not a lot of kids want to be in that situation," Syracuse coach Jeff Bearnson said. "For the past couple of years, Jason has been our guy. He throws a sinker and gets a lot of ground balls. He works fast and throws strikes. Before you know it, you're down 0-2."
Jourdan won four games as a freshman then posted a 4-4 record as a sophomore. He improved to 6-2 as a junior.
He entered the week 4-5 record with a 2.45 ERA this season, but the numbers aren't indicative of how well he's pitched. For instance, he gave up four hits in a 2-1 loss to Bingham and gave up just three hits in a 2-1 loss to Layton.
When it mattered most, he pitched a four-hit shutout against Kearns in the opening round of the Class 5A state tournament.
"I've had a couple of one-run losses that I could have easily been on the other end of, but I've taken it in stride," Jourdan said. "I think I've been successful because I like to attack and throw strikes early and often. I proved to coach Bearnson that I was a guy who will get on the mound, throw strikes and compete in every game. I'm a pitcher that lives in the zone, and he loves that."
What's not to love about a player who has been a key to a program that went from four wins four years ago to Region 1 champs this season?