How Greenwood pitcher, Kansas State commit Landry Jurecka bounced back from a knee injury
GREENWOOD - A little run support goes a long way for Greenwood pitcher Landry Jurecka.
The Bulldogs staked Jurecka to a big lead and the senior right hander cruised in an 11-1 win over Mountain Home on Tuesday in the opener of a 5A-West baseball doubleheader. It marked the most runs Greenwood scored this year for Jurecka.
Greenwood won the second game, 10-6, to clinch a berth in the Class 5A state tournament at Jonesboro. The Bulldogs remain tied for second place in the 5A-West with Russellville at 8-4, two games behind Van Buren.
Jurecka has come back admirably from tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee in December of 2019 while conditioning with the baseball team.
He spent the next six months doing rigorous rehabilitation.
“Throughout that time, it taught me to go through all the hardships,” Jurecka said. “I was out six straight months and couldn’t do anything but rehab. Every day hurt, going through that and knowing I’ve got one season left to get a college scholarship.”
Despite the injury, Jurecka was already on the radar of colleges.
“I talked to Kansas State and a couple of schools and committed in September,” Jurecka said. “(The Big 12 is) right up there with the SEC. The Big 12’s got three teams in the top eight right now.”
As soon as graduation is over, Jurecka will join the Wildcats.
“I’ll go up there in June and get on an eight-week strength program for pitchers,” Jurecka said. “This past Saturday, I got an email that I’ll be there on June 5 to start class and start lifting. I’m pretty excited.”
More: How Van Buren's Haden Roark helped Pointers to a doubleheader sweep of Alma.
In Tuesday's win, Jurecka went the distance, which was called due to the run-rule when Greenwood (15-7, 8-4) scored twice in the fifth.
Jurecka allowed just two singles, walked none and yielded just an unearned run, along with striking out nine.
Jurecka (5-2) has 55 strikeouts in 38 innings with just seven walks. His two losses were to Van Buren, 2-0, with just a lone earned run allowed and to Russellville, 4-2, allowing only two earned runs.
The Jurecka family moved from Alma to Greenwood before Jurecka’s freshman year.
He’ll face his former teammates next week when the Bulldogs travel to Alma for the final 5A-West doubleheader of the season.
In Jurecka’s freshman season, Connor Noland and Peyton Holt paced the Bulldogs to the state title. He hopes to lead the way this time.
“That’s always been the No. 1 goal,” Jurecka said. “This year, us seniors and being the leaders and not having Connor and Peyton to lean on to cement our legacy ourselves. If we don’t get one this year, it’s always going to be like we needed Connor and Peyton to win one.”