JR McDermott, like many collegiate baseball players, wishes to make it to the majors. McDermott started playing baseball when he was four years old, but has only been pitching for the last five years.
As a sophomore, McDermott has had a lot of honorable accomplishments. Last season, he was named the RMAC pitcher of the year in the conference, and to follow it up this season, he was named RMAC preseason pitcher of the year.
“It was an honor to get it [RMAC preseason pitcher of the year], but it also doesn’t mean anything because every year is a new year, and, regardless of what I did last year, I have to come back and prove myself this year,” McDermott said.
“As a freshman, he was labeled our number one, our Friday night guy,” head coach Chris Hanks said.
McDermott grew up in Aurora and graduated from Smoky Hill High School. He was the oldest of five kids. He decided to attend Colorado Mesa University after coming up for a baseball visit.
At first, he wasn’t quite sure, but then he fell in love with the campus and its surroundings. McDermott enjoys the geography of Grand Junction as most of his hobbies consist of outdoors activities. He also loves that CMU is the perfect distance from home.
“We are sure glad he is in our program,” assistant coach Sean McKinney said.
McDermott described his team as a big family because they look up to one another. He enjoys being able to rely on one another. McDermott considers his coaches as the mentors he can always count on.
“He is a great kid to have in the program. A big part of our family, and he is also a great student,” McKinney said.
McDermott looks up to a few of the pros, and would hope to someday make it to the majors.
“In my opinion [I want] JR to become the best possible pitcher he can be and try to focus on the process of becoming an elite pitcher and not measuring it with other pitchers or programs, but measuring it with himself and try to continually out do himself,” McKinney said.
McDermott’s number one priority while playing baseball is to accomplish everything as a team. He enjoys that he can be competitive on his own while in the game, but knows it also takes a team effort to win. As a pitcher, he enjoys being the first to have control over the ball.
“I don’t really do anything special before a game,” McDermott said. “Each day my body is different and it needs something else to get ready, so I just kind of have a little bit of a routine.”
As a student athlete, McDermott has a hectic life. During the fall semester, he tries to load up his classes so when baseball season comes around he can lighten up his class load. He has had to learn to manage his time between school, practice and weights. McDermott hopes to win the first national title for the baseball team before he graduates.
“I don’t really have any goals for myself, just to be the best teammate I can be and do whatever needs to be done for us to win the national title – that’s the ultimate goal,” McDermott said.