Prep baseball: Bearnson excels on, off diamond for Syracuse
Prep baseball • Bearnson drove in 29 runs in the ninth spot on the order last year.
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Sit down. This could take awhile to come up with an answer.

What is the most impressive thing about Syracuse second basemen Jayden Bearnson?

Is it the .423 batting average he had last season as a junior or is it his 29 RBI from the ninth spot in the order?

How about the four walk-off hits he had or that six of his 11 doubles he had last season were hustle doubles?

Or could it be that he scored a 28 on the ACT? How about the fact that even though he's loaded up his schedule with AP classes, he still has a 4.0 GPA?

"I won't say he's perfect, but he's been a parent's dream," said Syracuse coach Jeff Bearnson, who is Jayden's father. "This may sound strange, but his first love is not baseball, it's school. He's the epitome of what a student-athlete should be."

Jayden started at second base as a sophomore. He batted ninth but produced like he was at the leadoff spot. He hit .401, and defensively he helped secure the middle infield by making just three errors all season.

Jayden upped his average to .423 and led the team in RBI with 29, despite hitting ninth last season. He also stole 22 bases.

Some players finish their careers without a single walk-off; Jayden had four last season alone.

"When I practice, I try to put myself in a situation that I could be the guy who has the game-winning hit," he said. "It was really amazing that I was in that situation so many times last year, but I have so much confidence in my teammates that they would be able to do the same thing if they were in that situation. It was really just luck as much as anything."

Good things happen when you put the ball in play, and that's something he's had no trouble doing. He struck out just twice last season.

Between his batting average and GPA, it would seem he would have several baseball options for next year. But that's not the case.

Jayden said there are a few academic-oriented Division III schools who are interested in him, but there just aren't many opportunities for a 5-foot-5 second baseman at the Division I level.

"When I played with the Baseball Academy team, we played in tournaments all over the country," Jayden said. "Even when I played better then some of the other players, the baseball scouts never gave me any looks. I used to think it wasn't fair, but I got used to it. For me, the most important thing I can get out of baseball is what kind of player and person I'm going to be."

No worries. If it doesn't work out on the diamond, Jayden has a pretty good backup plan. He simply will pursue his first love.

"I put efforts into a lot of things," he said. "But for me, the most important thing is my school work. It's what I take the most pride in."