Standout Freeport pitcher Jarrett Heilman gives verbal commitment to Mercyhurst

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Monday, November 11, 2019 | 5:13 PM


Jarrett Heilman is busy preparing for his final high school baseball season with a Freeport, which returns numerous starters and key contributors from last spring’s run to a Section 1-3A title and the PIAA playoffs.

But when the senior pitcher hangs up his Yellowjackets uniform for the final time, he will have opportunities to look forward to at the college level with one of the top Division II programs in the country.

Heilman, the reigning Valley News Dispatch Baseball Player of the Year, gave a verbal commitment Friday to play at Mercyhurst. The hard-throwing right-hander said he couldn’t be happier with his decision.

“Mercyhurst is a beautiful campus,” said Heilman, who visited the school Friday. “It’s a relatively small school with a big-school feel. Honestly, if I took baseball out of the equation, I still would be excited to go there. It is a great all-around fit for me. When I went up there, I realized I’d be happy to call it my home for the next four years.”

Heilman plans to finalize his decision Wednesday morning with the start of the national letter of intent signing period.

There also was mutual interest with schools in the region such as Cal (Pa.), Seton Hill, Charleston (W.Va.) and Gannon.

“Pretty much every day, his parents and I were communicating with Jarrett about his decision, so I knew it was coming down to a couple of schools,” Freeport baseball coach Ed Carr said.

“Mercyhurst is a great baseball program and school, and he did a great job of checking off all the boxes of what he wanted in a university. He did all he could to make the best decision for himself, and I am so happy for him.”

Mercyhurst finished 36-16 last season and advanced to its sixth consecutive NCAA Atlantic Regional and third College World Series in four years.

The Lakers went 3-0 in the Atlantic Regional, topped Charleston, 2-1, in a best-of-three Super Regional series and capped their season with a 2-2 mark at the World Series.

On the day of its final victory of the season, a 6-4 triumph over Cal-San Diego, Mercyhurst also celebrated as pitchers Tyler Garbee (Reds, 19th round) and Matthew Minnick (Yankees, 23rd round) were selected in the MLB Draft.

The Lakers have had seven players drafted since 2016.

“They are known for developing pitchers, and that’s just music to my ears,” Heilman said.

Heilman finished his junior season with some of the best pitching numbers in the WPIAL.

He posted a 9-2 record with a 0.67 ERA in 73 innings. He struck out 107 and walked only seven.

Heilman fired a one-hit shutout against Waynesburg in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. One week later, he shut out Keystone Oaks, 1-0, to clinch a spot at states.

Freeport finished 15-7 overall and suffered a 3-2 heartbreaker to District 10 champion Franklin in the PIAA opening round.

Heilman added to his portfolio with a pair of pitching appearances for Team Pennsylvania in its three-game sweep of Maryland at the Big 26 Baseball Classic in July.

“It’s nice that the decision has been made so he can be 100-percent focused on his grades and preparing for this next season, getting stronger and in top physical shape,” Carr said.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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