Jarema, Misericordia Looking For Another Run
Any college program across the country looks to build itself into what Misericordia baseball has become.
The Cougars have developed a continued legacy of success, winning eight straight MAC Freedom championships.
Kenny Jarema is part of a senior class that has risen to the challenge of continuing that legacy, leading Misericordia to new heights. Last year, the Cougars advanced to the NCAA Division III World Series for the first time.
Thinking back to his beginnings on campus, Jarema, a Downington native, knew it was possible with the group coming in with him, and the legacy passed on by those who came before.
“When I came, the guys before us were real good leaders. They showed us the ropes,” Jarema said. “They really led the way, showed us how things are done. With the guys that came in with me as freshmen, I really did think we had a shot. The way the coaches recruited, we had a very talented freshman class.”
For any program to reach the level Misericordia has attained over the years, it takes players committed to picking up on the legacy left for them, then passing it on to the next generation.
“Coach always instills that in us, trying to teach the young guys,” Jarema said. “It’s been eight straight years we’ve won the conference now. We wouldn’t be where we are without the alumni, and the guys that taught us how to do this. We take that very seriously, teaching the young guys how to prepare for games, how to play the game the right way. That’s very important to us as a program here at Misericordia.”
But before Jarema and his group move on and pass everything down to the next one, there’s one more piece of business they’re looking to accomplish.
“After last year and the great run we went on — we went to the World Series, which was awesome — we had a lot on our shoulders trying to get back and do even more damage, trying to win the whole thing this year.”
The Cougars are off to a strong start as the season reaches its midpoint, once again tops in the conference. But to become champions, Jarema acknowledges a winning record isn’t good enough.
“We went into a few games before Florida and we kind of struggled. We thought we were better than we really were,” he said. “Coach has been saying we haven’t been playing as well as we should be. I know our record seems really good, 16-7 right now, but we should be playing better, in my opinion. We haven’t been executing the way we should be executing offensively, I believe. Hopefully we can get hot like last year. We didn’t play our best baseball until the end of the season last year, too. Hopefully we can start getting better and get hot at the right time like last year.”
Jarema tops Misericordia’s lineup and is in the midst of a strong senior campaign. He takes on the role of getting the team’s offense started and getting the early lead on the competition.
“As a lead-off hitter, you get on base. That’s first and foremost. We’re big into sacrificing, trying to get me to second base and scoring the first run of the game always,” he said. “That’s always a big, No. 1 thing, trying to get the first run of the game.
“I’m the table setter as we like to call it. Try to get on for the guys behind me like Steve (Weisensee) and Tyler (Holzapfel), get them to try to knock me in.”
But brings more to the plate than just a guy that can get a walk and steal a base. He leads the team with a .447 average, has one home run and his 15 RBIs are third-best on the team.
“I just do whatever the situation calls for,” Jarema said. “If there’s runners on base, I like to be aggressive, try to drive them in. If there’s nobody on base, I do whatever I can to get on first base and get us started. I try to execute whatever the situation is, whether it’s get runners in or get on base.”
With nine seniors on the roster, Jarema realizes the time is now to take the program to an even grander position, before turning over the legacy to the next group.
“We try not to put too much pressure on ourselves, but we know this is our last year. We have a ton of seniors this year. We know this is really it,” Jarema said. “We got to give it our all, keep the grind up and really try to go for it this year.”
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Getting to know Kenny Jarema
Favorite Team: Phillies
Favorite Player: Bryce Harper
Favorite place to eat in town: Fire and Ice
Favroite Netflix show: Blue Mountain State
Would you rather fight one dragon-sized duck, or 100 duck sized dragons: 100 duck-sized Dragons
If a warewolf needed emergency surgery, would he go to a doctor or veterinarian? Veterinarian