By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
In 2005, Jeremy Hefner was a pitcher for Perkins-Tryon High School, a town of less than 3,000 people. This year, Hefner made his Major League debut with the New York Mets in front of tens of thousands of fans. Last Friday, Hefner was honored by his small town high school as his number was retired.
“It’s a huge honor,” Hefner said. “It wasn’t something that I set out to achieve or worked hard to get. I’m still in shock.”
P-T held the ceremony before its basketball games in the commons area. Among those in attendance was the baseball team. During the offseason, Hefner works out with them.
“For them to look up to me is important,” Hefner said. “It’s stuff like that, that pushes me to do my best.”
During his high school career, Hefner led the Demons to three straight 3A semifinal appearances and was a first-team All-State selection a senior. The New York Mets’ pitcher said it’s amazing to go from pitching for a small town high school to the major leagues.
“Especially in New York with so many people, it’s a big contrast,” Hefner said. “There’s a lot of people in my life that helped me to play ball and further my career. They allowed me to take advantage of those opportunities.”
After pitching for the Demons, Hefner played two years at Seminole State University before transferring to Oral Roberts. Hefner went 9-2 with the Golden Eagles with 107 strikeouts resulting in him being drafted by the San Diego Padres.
Hefner spent four years in the Padres’ minor league system before being waived after the 2011 season and was claimed by the Pirates. Less than a month, the Pirates waived him and the Mets claimed him.
Hefner made his debut on April 23 against the San Francisco Giants. He pitched three scoreless innings.
“It was really cool,” Hefner said. “My feelings and the stadium looked as I pictured it. It was another baseball game. I didn’t let it affect me and tried to put those things in the back of my head.”
Hefner spent last season going between the Mets and their AAA squad Buffalo. On May 24 he made his first start against the Padres but got hit around, allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings. Hefner got his first win against the Phillies with a six-inning, three strikeout performance. The Mets’ rookie finished 4-7 with a 5.09 ERA.
Hefner’s P-T jersey and his Mets’ uniform will be on display at the high school. Hefner said it’s pretty neat.
“It’s crazy to think about,” Hefner said. “It hasn’t set in. It’s something that happened and I look forward to coming back.”