MacMurray pitcher finds new home after Benedictine closure
High school athletes often go through a rigorous process when choosing a college to play at, weighing a variety of factors when making their decision.
Therefore, when something happens to make an athlete go through that process again, it can feel like the rug being pulled from under their feet.
"When Benedictine closed I had my eye on a few different places but none of the seemed to be the right fit, whether it was too far away or not enough scholarship money was available or anything like that," MacMurray College pitcher Connor Jacobs told the West Central Reporter. "MacMurray was one of the places I had my eye on and everything just fell into place. It also helped a lot that there were multiple guys that I played with at Benedictine that were also looking to go there."
Jacobs says it was a drive to win that led him to become a pitcher.
"I have always considered myself to be a very competitive person. I enjoy being on the mound, it allows me to control the tempo of the game. Being involved in every play and having a big impact on the game is what I love," he said.
Jacobs had a successful high school career at Springfield High School, going 7-6 with a 3.31 ERA, and a 0.60 walk to strikeout ratio. His performance really spiked in his senior season, compiling a 5-2 record with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.43 walk to strikeout ratio. He decided to play at Benedictine College in his hometown of Springfield. In his first year, he was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year in the America Midwest Conference.
However, in November 2014 Benedictine closed its doors to undergraduate students, transitioning to a "non-traditional students" university as a way to make up for years of deficit spending. Jacobs eventually landed at MacMurray, where his numbers have suffered a bit in the transition. In his sophomore season, Jacobs had a 4.24 ERA, though he nearly matched his senior year of high school with a 0.44 walks to strikeouts ratio. Jacobs had two seven-inning complete game victories for the Highlanders, and one hard-luck game. Against Spalding University, Jacobs put together his best game, going eight innings and striking out 13 batters with just three walks. However, the Highlanders' closer blew the save in the ninth inning. The Highlanders won the game in extra innings, but Jacobs was stuck with a no-decision.
Jacobs and the other Benedictine transfers were part of a resurgence for the Highlanders, who put together the team's best season since 1999, and being one of four teams to make the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament. They've also improved their record by five wins each of the past three seasons.
Jacobs said he's going to keep doing his best to keep that resurgence going.
"Being a pitcher, I am very involved in every game in a major way, so I am going to continue to go out and compete every opportunity I get. I will do anything in my power to give our team the best chance of winning," he said.