Zachary uses strong effort from Robert Burke to beat District 4-5A rival Denham Springs _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Zachary High starting pitcher Robert Burke pitches against Denham Springs Saturday at Zachary Youth Park's Herty Field. The Broncos defeated Denham, 7-2.

Zachary High pitcher Robert Burke is still pondering career options and said he will probably major in mathematics.

What isn’t in doubt is which school the 6-foot-3 senior right-hander is planning to attend. Burke committed to Northwestern State on Thursday morning, the result of a recruiting process that started over a year ago.

“I’ve been talking with my parents a lot about my future and a possible career path beyond sports,” Burke said. “I decided to commit to Northwestern because of the opportunities there and the way they treated me during the recruiting process.

“They’ve been with me since the end of my sophomore year and have been so consistent. I went up there on an unofficial visit back in February and was blown away by what I saw. They told me they expect me to be a guy who starts on Friday or Saturday nights for them. That means a lot.”

Burke took over the role of Zachary’s No. 1 starter last spring and flourished. He was 9-4 with a 2.15 ERA and 79 strikeouts. The Broncos (23-13) won the District 4-5A title and advanced to the regional round of playoffs.

An honor student with a 3.9 grade-point average, the 200-pound Burke also has a scholarship offer from LSU-Eunice.

“Robert has been the hardest working player we had,” former Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said. “He’s committed to his personal and team goals. He works seven days a week at becoming better.

“He’s transformed his mindset into a bulldog mentality. He deserves a scholarship and will be a big-time Division I pitcher. I think he will end up being 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds and will be a pro ball guy in three years. He has been fun to coach. He’s a winner.”

Zachary High pitcher Robert Burke is still pondering career options and says he’ll probably major in mathematics.

What isn’t in doubt is which school the 6-foot-3 senior right-hander is planning to attend. Burke committed to Northwestern State on Thursday morning, the result of a recruiting process that started over a year ago.

“I’ve been talking with my parents a lot about my future and a possible career path beyond sports,” Burke said. “I decided to commit to Northwestern because of the opportunities there and the way they treated during the recruiting process.

“They’ve been with me since the end of my sophomore year and have been so consistent. I went up there on an unofficial visit back in February and was blown away by what I saw. They told me they expect me to be a guy who starts on Friday or Saturday nights for them. That means a lot.”

Burke took over the role of Zachary’s No. 1 starter last spring and flourished. He was 9-4 with a 2.15 earned run average and 79 strikeouts. The Broncos (23-13) won the District 4-5A title and advanced to the regional round of playoffs.

An honor student with a 3.9 grade point average, the 200-pound Burke also has a scholarship offer from LSU-Eunice.

“Robert has been the hardest working player we had,” former Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said. “He’s committed to his personal and team goals. He works seven days a week at becoming better.

“He’s transformed his mindset into a bulldog mentality. He deserves a scholarship and will be a big-time Division I pitcher. I think he will end up being a 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds and will be a pro ball guy in three years. He has been fun to coach. He’s a winner.”

Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter, @FambroughAdv