As Belton marched toward its second consecutive District 8-5A title this past season, the Tigers were often a topic of conversation in press boxes and stands that they weren’t even playing in front of that day.
Not because the Tigers were in the midst of an extraordinary district run that didn’t see them lose until the final day of the regular season.
But because everyone wanted to know who the Tigers were throwing that day -— because no one wanted to see Jared Janczak in the coming week.
That respect didn’t just exist in the press box as Janczak went on to earn the rare repeat as District MVP this past season.
And despite the impossible expectations set by his first MVP season — and his preseason signing with TCU — Janczak lived up to the hype, going undefeated in district starts.
For that, Janczak is the 2014 All-Area Pitcher of the Year.
Janczak wasn’t available for comment at press time — spending the prior week on a cruise — but Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum was more than able to explain what Janczak has meant to his program in four years as a varsity player.
“Just very steady,” Cornblum said. “It’s a guy that’s kind of a grinder, who loves to work out, loves the game.
“He pretty much did everything right. He was never going to be an issue, definitely not on the field and definitely not off the field.
“So, he was a great role model for the guys coming up and really led by example.”
Cornblum recalled four years ago when the Tigers had an injury in the outfield and Janczak was the best athlete in the program to fill the spot.
Cornblum said Janczak truly blossomed in his two MVP seasons as he began to master the mental part of the game.
“We knew he had good stuff, it’s just we need to get him experience on the mound, put him in some big games and just let him compete,” Cornblum said. “Because, most of the time, it’s not the physical attributes that we look at. A lot of times, it’s going to be the mental part. And he came a long way in maturing.”
Now, Janczak will continue his maturation at TCU, a team fresh off a Big 12 championship and a College World Series appearance.
“He’s going to be a great player for TCU,” Cornblum said.
“I can’t wait to watch him the next four years and after that.”