By Jim Holland
*photo courtesy of Beckley Register-Herald
Annually, the West Virginia Miners host players from all over the United States that return home at season’s end with great memories of the region and the hospitality of its residents.
As for Jarron Monroe, a pitcher on the 2016 Miners, he took it a step further: he didn’t go home. Instead, he will be seen in several college games this coming spring at Linda K. Epling Stadium as a senior on the mound for WVU-Tech.
The idea of remaining here following the 2016 Miners Prospect League Championship season was not on his radar when he arrived here this past summer.
“The thought of staying or even going to school here was not even on my mind. But I didn’t know how many innings of work I would get if I returned to Sterling College because they have a whole new coaching staff coming in. I was kind of keeping my eyes open and this opportunity presented itself,” said Monroe during a September 25 phone interview.
Being here at the right time led to this latest move in Monroe’s still developing baseball career. He was not scheduled to pitch on a Miners road trip and was thus left behind. While getting his throwing practice in with the team gone, he was spotted by Lawrence Nesselrodt, head baseball coach at WVU-Tech, who was in the stadium showing a prospective Golden Bears’ freshman recruit the home of the Miners. That chance meeting in the end led to Monroe transferring to Tech for his final season of collegiate eligibility in 2017.
He heavily connects this path to his time with the Miners, 2016 in fact being his second season here.
“What a blessing it has been to be play for the Miners the past two summers. Everything about the Miners organization and the Beckley community is awesome,” shared Monroe, who academically is aiming to obtain his college degree in Biology. He added that Coach Nesselrodt’s plan at this time is for Monroe, who both started and appeared in relief for the 2016 Miners, to be a starting pitcher at Tech.
It’s the beginning of his baseball journey that makes his rise against the odds to where he is today even more incredible. He is a native of Riverton, WY, an area that does not offer high school baseball. His baseball talents were developed, and in turn discovered, through Little League programs and by playing on summer American Legion baseball teams.
His early baseball beginnings as a 12-year old often involved a 2-3 mile bike ride to the nearest field. The cycling trek always originated from his home on an Indian reservation for Monroe, who is half Native American (Northern Arapaho Indian descent). He chuckled in sharing that it was always a good bike ride and that he was always plenty warmed up when he arrived for the game!
His post-scholastic days as a baseball player has been a roadmap for the right-hander that has seen stops at Otero Junior College (La Junta, CO), Sterling (KS) College (where Monroe pitched in the NAIA World Series), and two summers with the Miners before joining forces now with his current team, the WVU-Tech Golden Bears.
Monroe said the current WVU-Tech baseball team is the hardest working bunch he has ever been involved with and he hopes to be a significant contributor toward a successful 2017 campaign for the Golden Bears.
He’s bringing some impressive college credentials to WVU-Tech from Sterling, where last year he faced 58 hitters in regular season play in nine games and held them to a collective .156 batting average while allowing no earned runs
“I feel my biggest strength as a pitcher is that I consider my fastball as my go-to pitch. I like to pound the zone with it and get ahead of hitters in the count,” observed Monroe.
His last two seasons with the Miners has seen him pitch both as a starter and reliever while really getting himself with the southern West Virginia region. He’s prepared and he’s ready to pitch in front of us as a collegian.
And, as Miners fans, we’re ready to make the journey with him as the next chapter of the travels of Jarron Monroe is being written.