Happy homecoming

Return to home state of Kansas leads to another JUCO appearance for Cowley's Hutson

Cowley pitcher Garrett Hutson has been to the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series the past two years — last year with San Jacinto and this year with his home state Tigers. Hutson pitched nine innings at JUCO for Cowley.

Grand Junction and the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series have been a home away from home for Garrett Hutson.

After coming to Grand Junction with San Jacinto College-North (Texas) last year, Hutson decided there really was no place like home and headed back to Kansas.

Now, playing for Cowley College, the big right-hander is happy with his decision to leave San Jacinto even after the Gators advanced to last year’s title game.

“Cowley is only an hour away from my hometown (El Dorado),” he said. “My brother (Gavin) was on the Cowley team last year, so I decided to come back home and play with him.”

Tigers coach Dave Burroughs was thrilled when Hutson wanted to come home.

“We knew what he was in high school. When he got back from the World Series he called and said he wanted to transfer,” he said. “He’s got a good arm and is an outstanding competitor.”

Hutson considered Oklahoma State out of high school but decided to go the juco route and picked Houston-based San Jacinto.

It was a big move for a kid from a small town of around 13,000 people to go to the fourth largest city in the United States..

“He’s from El Dorado, Kansas, so Houston, Texas, was a different place for him,” Burroughs said, smiling. “I think he wanted to get back closer to home and we’re fortunate that he wanted that.”

Even though Hutson’s brother decided to leave the baseball team and concentrate on his studies after the first semester, Hutson has no regrets about returning to Kansas.

“It’s definitely different, it’s a lot easier for me. I felt a lot of pressure last year,” he said. “Going into this (JUCO World Series), I feel like I’m under control more.”

Relaxed and under control, Hutson has been one of the top pitchers of the tournament to this point. The righty is ranked second among all pitchers with nine innings, and nine strikeouts.

At JUCO with the Gators last year, Hutson pitched three innings to earn a win over Iowa Western Community College.

This season at JUCO, he pitched seven innings and gave up four runs to earn a win on opening day. Then he came in and slammed the door shut in a two-inning, one-hit performance in the win over Crowder College on Tuesday.

He also got into a third game as a pinch runner, so it’s been a memorable tournament for the Kansas kid.

“Anytime I can go out there and help my team win and keep us in the tournament, it means a lot,” Hutson said.

It’s rare that players come to JUCO with different teams two straight years.

Earlier in the tournament, College of Southern Nevada was eliminated and they had right-fielder Christian Maggi who was back in Grand Junction. Last year, he picked up a JUCO national title ring playing for Yavapai College (Arizona).

The Tigers and Hutson’s tournament was ended when his old team beat Cowley Thursday night, and that means San Jac will once again be in the title game.

For Hutson, who ironically will head back to the Lone Star State next year now that he’s signed with Abilene Christian University, it’s been a fun sophomore season.

He came home, had a great season for the Tigers, and he got the chance to come back to Grand Junction with a different team.

Special but different memories from each trip.

“It was a lot of fun with San Jac last year, but with Cowley this year, it’s a lot bigger and more special because it’s my hometown state and we’re all really close, so it means a lot,” he said.


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