Tuesday, 18 September 2018
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From the NAIA to the pros, Jarecki ready for opportunity with the Detroit Tigers
By Jonny Kane
Audio

Matthew Jarecki Full Interview 3-7-18 – Click here.

Growing up as a kid in Littleton, Colorado, Matthew Jarecki dreamed of what every kid who picks up a baseball at young age dreams of: playing professional baseball.  

Jarecki’s dream became a reality Wednesday afternoon, as the recent Benedictine College graduate was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 37th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft.

Although it is a dream come true for Jarecki, the fact that he was drafted still hasn’t quite set in.

“I’m still kind of on cloud nine right now,” Jarecki said. “Right now I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Draft day for Jarecki though was special for a different reason.

“It’s actually funny it was my mom’s birthday yesterday (Wednesday),” Jarecki said. “So actually I guess it was a great little birthday celebration for her too not just me.”

The entire draft process for Jarecki wasn’t quite everything that he expected to be. As the days and the rounds went, the idea of getting drafted went from certainty to hope.

“I talked to a scout a few times about it (getting drafted),” Jarecki said. “But when he called me I was like okay, this might happen but I never really knew until my name was called.” “At the end I was starting to get discouraged thinking all hope was lost, but then I got his call and then hearing my name called was just a moment I will never forget.”

Jarecki’s love for the game of baseball goes back to his days of playing t-ball as a kid. Being on a diamond was seen as a family thing for the Jarecki family, way before the idea of playing professional baseball came into the picture.

“I was introduced to the game when I was very young and it was just kind of a family thing,” Jarecki said. “My sister has played softball her whole life and I have played baseball my whole life and growing up I didn’t even play competitively until I was like 10.”

It didn’t take long for Matt to make himself comfortable on the competitive scene, as he tried out and made one of the best competitive teams around the Littleton, Colorado area. From there Jarecki continued to play competitively all the way up to high school. He had a big decision to make, though, before he started his four years as a second sport emerged as one of his favorites.

“I was actually a really good soccer player,” Jarecki said. “But when it came time where I had to choose between competitive soccer or competitive baseball because they were in the same season I chose baseball because I really love baseball and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

So from there, Jarecki made his way through high school and came to the realization that he had a chance to play at the collegiate level. Although he didn’t receive many looks from colleges, Benedictine and at the time head coach Doc Beeman along with assistant Pecos Miller made him a priority.

“Pecos was actually the one who contacted me and got me my official visit (to Benedictine),” Jarecki said. “They really took a chance with me.”

Jarecki in return chose to attend Benedictine and wasted no time making his presence felt in his freshman season. Despite not receiving much playing time early on, Jarecki got his chance right before Heart of America Athletic Conference play started and never looked back. He finished his freshman season playing in 36 games hitting .409 with five home runs and 25 RBIs which earned him a spot on the all-Heart first-team.

“In the fall of my freshman year I thought I had proved myself enough, but after that I realized that I hadn’t put in enough effort to earn a starting spot,” Jarecki said. “It just hit me and I thought wow I really need to take this seriously, so right before conference play started I got an opportunity and never looked back.”

After his freshman season, though, adversity hit as Beeman resigned and Anthony Everman was hired as the new head coach of Raven baseball. The change didn’t effect Jarecki one bit and as a sophomore he continued to shine hitting .369 with six home runs and 44 RBIs while once again being selected first-team all-conference.

His junior year though is when people and scouts really began to take notice. In his third year as a Raven, Jarecki broke the single-season home run record at Benedictine with 21 while being named the Heart of America Athletic Conference offensive player of the year. Along with being named the conference player of the year, Jarecki was also named a first-team NAIA All-American which he called his most proud achievement.

“I would have to say being a first-team All-American (referring to what he’s most proud of) because that’s comparing you to every player in the nation and it’s just an honor to be named one of the top 10 best players in the nation,” Jarecki said. “I would also have to say being Heart Player of the year as well because that was a goal I set coming into the year.”

The accolades and records didn’t stop there for Jarecki. He finished his career at Benedictine practically rewriting the Raven books as he finished his career first in career at-bats, single-season runs scored, career runs scored, career hits, career RBIs, career doubles, single-season home runs, single-season hit-by-pitch and career hit-by-pitch. His .402 career batting average and his 202 career games played also rank second.

Jarecki said there were two records that stuck out to him and that he was most proud of.

“I would have to say the overall average and home run record,” he said. “I was never really a home run guy I think I had 12 home runs my first two years combined and then a switch clicks and I hit 21 home runs.” “Then one of my other goals was to have a career batting average over .400, so to achieve that it was just really awesome.”

As to his time at Benedictine as a whole, Jarecki has a lot that he wants to take with him heading forward.

“I’m just going to take the friendships that I have made and the two coaches, Doc and Pecos, that took a chance on me,” Jarecki said. “Just coming from the NAIA level that I didn’t know existed until the recruiting process started, I just want to make Benedictine, the NAIA and just all the people that have believed in me throughout my career proud.”

Looking forward for Jarecki the future is still uncertain with contracts to be figured out and physicals to be taken, but for now his mindset is simple.

“I just want to show off my talents and make my time fun,” Jarecki said. “I want to be someone who is a great teammate. I’m not sure where I will be going, but I’m excited for the opportunity.”


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