7/26/05 – Daily News Record
Pitcher Took Long Journey To His First Career No-Hitter By DUSTIN DOPIRAK Daily News-Record So how’s this for a reason to celebrate? Sean Jarrett faced 30 batters in nine innings Sunday night and none of them got a hit in the Harrisonburg Turks’ 3-0 win over Waynesboro at Memorial Stadium. The right-handed pitcher struck out 11, didn’t allow a walk and would have had a perfect game if not for three errors. A typical 22-year-old might have partied a bit after something like that. Instead, the soft-spoken Jarrett got a pizza from Domino’s with teammate Brad Mills, headed back to his apartment, called his parents and grandparents — and went to bed. Then, on Monday, he headed to the gym for his heaviest workout of the week. "That doesn’t surprise me at all," first baseman Jeff Carroll said. "He’s got a great work ethic. He stays focus on what he wants to do and how to get it done." Jarrett had never before thrown a no-hitter at any level. He’d had his share of one-hitters, of course, but the lone hit usually came before the sixth inning, before the whispers of "Hey, has he given up a hit yet?" usually start and the pressure begins to mount. Monday, he woke up wondering if he had really no-hit the Generals. Or if he had dreamt it. "I had always imagined what it would be like, and it was like a dream," said Jarrett, who has a summer job at Turks manager Bob Wease’s car dealership. "But I went over to the dealership to work for Bob and they had the story in the paper and the box score laminated for me. It kind of set in that it actually did happen." But it wasn’t a reason for the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder – who is transferring from Arizona to Oral Roberts for his senior season — to change his routine. Jarrett, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, has never been one for partying. He’s also never been one for missing time in the gym. He and fellow pitcher Mills, one of Jarrett’s best friends at Arizona and his workout partner, are considered among the hardest workers among the Turks – a trait that has helped Jarrett compile a 4-1 record with a 2.31 earned run average, 31 strikeouts and 11 walks in 39 innings. "I try to get my body in the best physical condition to perform," Jarrett said. "Sometimes, you want to take a day off, but if you prepare the whole week to make it happen, and you go through the hard workouts, then once you get up on the hill, you know you’re prepared and you’re going to be successful." It’s because of that drive that Wease believes Jarrett could be a major-league player someday. "He’s got the David Eckstein work ethic," Wease said, referring to the former Turk and current St. Louis Cardinals All-Star shortstop. "[Florida Marlins center fielder and former Turk] Juan Pierre was the same way. Any time these kids are on a baseball field, all they do is work. That’s the difference between a lot of the kids today. It’s not the talented kids that make it, it’s the kids that want it." Jarrett does want it, and that’s the primary reason he made the difficult decision to leave Arizona for Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla. – his third school in five years. When Jarrett transferred to Arizona two years ago after spending two years at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo., he was thrilled. He hadn’t been seriously recruited by anyone out of Limon (Colo.) High School, where he played mostly third base. At Otero, he was moved to pitcher and caught Arizona’s eye, even though he missed enough of his sophomore season with bone spurs in his right elbow. The Wildcats, a perennial NCAA tournament qualifier and three-time national champion, liked Jarrett enough to give a partial scholarship. "I always kind of pictured myself at a big school," Jarrett, who throws a 90 mph fastball, said. "But nobody really did it from my school, so I thought it was kind of a fantasy. But then I got there and it was a dream come true playing in that big yard with all of the national championships and to play under coach Andy Lopez, who’s one of the best coaches in the country." Jarrett, however, eventually realized that just wearing an Arizona uniform wouldn’t get him to the next level. He had to actually pitch in it. In 2004, he appeared in just eight games and threw just 14 1/3 innings. Last season, he was on the mound for 35 2/3 innings, but all 19 of his appearances were out of the bullpen. Scouts told him they needed to see him throw more innings before they could convince their teams to take a chance on him in the draft. Lopez couldn’t guarantee him that he’d be a starter this season, when he will be a fifth-year senior, and Jarrett said there were other situations at Arizona that he was "uncomfortable with." He refused to elaborate. Before the Turks’ season started in June, Jarrett requested his release to find a school that would let him start, and last week he decided on Oral Roberts. In baseball, unlike in basketball and football, transfers don’t have to sit out a year unless they move to another school in their conference. The Golden Eagles, though a mid-level team, have advanced to the NCAA tournament eight straight years. Arizona pitching coach Mark Wasikowski said he was surprised by the decision, especially because three of last year’s four starters had moved on, with one graduating and two others leaving after the Major League Baseball draft. "We weren’t really happy," he said. "Sean wanted a guarantee of a starting spot on the weekend [for Pac-10 games], and we don’t guarantee anything. You have to earn it. We’re disappointed that he left, because we liked the kid and he was a good pitcher, but maybe he decided it wasn’t a good program for him. … It’s the question of what’s better: 30 innings at Arizona or 150 innings at a lesser school. I don’t know the answer to that. That’s a question for a pro scout." Jarrett said it was just about making sure he was a starter somewhere before he ran out of eligibility. "I decided to just pretty much guarantee myself a better starting spot in the rotation," Jarrett said. "I wanted to see what I could do as a starter and try to get 100 innings." There’s no guarantee he’ll get that many, but with his work ethic, he should be able to handle them if he does. NOTE: The Turks initially thought Jarrett’s no-hitter was the team’s first since 1969. In fact, the team had one last year.