It would be hard pressed for any baseball pitcher to go through a season with a less than one earned run average but it seems Weatherford’s Beau Burrows has got a pretty good head start on doing just that.
With a perfect 5-0 record heading into Friday’s matchup with Arlington Martin - his “nemesis” - Burrows had given up just one run. And that was at the beginning of the season, in the first inning of the first game he pitched. When he left Friday’s game, that scoreless streak was still intact though he ended up with a no decision.
Maybe Burrows’ success can be chalked up to his pre-game ritual of a visit to the chiropractor, stretching, light throwing, wearing the same socks and such each time he pitches and the all-important meal.
“I like Mexican food before games, I don’t know why,” the 17-year-old right-hander said. “I eat a lot of Fuzzy’s.”
If you ask his coaches, however, they have a different philosophy.
“Yes, he’s got talent but he works for it and that’s the reason he’s good,” said Terry Massey, Weatherford head baseball coach. “There’s a lot of kids with talent but you can’t teach work ethic and that’s what Beau has.”
Flint Wallace, Weatherford College assistant baseball coach and Burrows’ pitching mentor since he was 9, agrees wholeheartedly.
“I don’t think people realize the amount of work he’s put in over time; he’s not an overnight success,” he explained. “He’s put in a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to get where he is and sticking with a program and always trying to get better.”
Burrows said he’s been playing baseball since he was 4 when he was in T-ball.
“I loved it ever since and started pitching when I was 9,” he said. “I love that it’s a team sport and that you have to depend on your teammates to help you win. I’m very competitive.”
Those teammates have played some stellar defense behind not only Burrows, but the rest of the Kangaroos pitchers as well.
“They believe in all of our pitchers that they’re going to get the strikes they need and also have the confidence in [Beau] that he’s going to get the job done,” Massey said. “For whatever reason, when Beau is on the mound they play the best defense we’ve had in 30 years.”
Burrows is quick to deflect the praise and credits Wallace and Roos catcher Andrew Healy for helping him be his best.
“I trust him with my pitches and I trust him behind the plate,” Burrows said. “He knows what I should throw and when I should throw it and that’s the best feeling to have as a pitcher.”
Burrows currently employs four pitches - fastball, curveball, change-up and slider - but admits that his fastball is what trips most hitters up.
“I’ve hit 98 mph once and 96 mph once but it’s usually between 92-93 mph on a good day,” he said. “[My fastball] overpowers a lot of guys, however, when I get to the next level, I’m going to have to get more pitches working because they’re going to be ready for that fastball and get used to it so I’ve got to get more pitches going.”
Being on the varsity team since he was a freshman has helped Burrows learn, Massey said, but there really isn’t much of a difference in the young pitcher as a junior.
“The difference in the past two years is that he’s throwing more strikes and that teams are having a hard time hitting him,” he explained. “He’s kept his pitch count down.”
Burrows has already verbally committed to Texas A&M, where he plans to major in business. Admittedly, however, he wants to be able to focus on baseball and will spend the next year and a half working on three important things.
“I need to work on my release point and my command and I need to stay healthy and continue what I’m doing,” he said. “My main goal, though, is staying healthy.”
Wallace said he doesn’t see much of Burrows during the season but that they do talk often. He added that Burrows simply needs to be more consistent with his fastball command and location and basically keep developing his off-speed “stuff.”
“The velocity is there but it’s just going to be a fact of getting better at what he does every day,” Wallace said. “With his work ethic, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. He has the drive that you don’t see very often in kids his age anymore. The biggest thing I tell him is to ‘do what you always do; you have to go work on it a little each day.’
“Some of it is that if he thinks it’s a mechanical thing that he doesn’t feel like its coming out of his hand right, then he may ask a question and we may meet up sometime during the season but once the summer hits, if there is something he wants to work on, I imagine that’s what we’ll be doing three or four days a week.”
That might be tougher this summer, though, as Burrows will be “racking up the frequent flyer miles” since he was asked to play for the No. 1 select baseball team in the country, the Evoshield Canes, based out of Virginia.
“They called and asked if I would like to play for them and I said, ‘That sounds great, I would love to!’” Burrows said of the offer. “I’ll be playing in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona; I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling. I’m pretty excited.”
An avid Texas Rangers fan, Burrows said when he isn’t playing baseball, he likes to spend time with his friends. But with two younger brothers also involved in multiple sports, including baseball, Burrows said it’s mainly “baseball all the time” and that suits him just fine, as long as he continues to improve his game.
“That’s his goal every time we go to work – to always get better than he was the time before so I give him tons of credit on that,” Wallace said. “He’s a special kid and I wish him all the best and with his hard work, I know he’s going to be successful whether it’s in baseball or in life.”
Massey said his main focus for Burrows until graduation is the same as it has been - guide him as needed.
“I coach him like I do all my kids but he’s self motivated and that makes the difference,” he said. “He’s just a special talent and a very good pitcher.”