05/29/09 — Frederick keeps his poise

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Frederick keeps his poise

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 29, 2009 1:46 PM

The errors piled up.

The "guest" number constantly changed on the scoreboard.

But Josh Frederick refused to let Northern Nash see him sweat.

"You can't let the other team see your frustration because that will get them (fired) up on you even more, and they'll hit the ball even harder after that," said Frederick. "You have to keep going, can't give up no matter what. I had to keep strong and knew I couldn't let these guys down.

"I said to myself 'I've got to keep them off base somehow ... battle back'."

Frederick battled ... indeed.

Four defensive errors fueled the Knights' five-run, fourth-inning uprising. Frederick threw seven first-pitch strikes to nine batters during that stretch, but didn't get any help behind him.

When he induced an infield pop-up to end the inning, Frederick trotted to the dugout. Head coach Jabo Fulghum offered little advice, but kept telling the left-hander to "shove it" as much as he could.

Frederick returned in the fifth with a new strategy.

The Knights (18-8 overall) had difficulty adjusting to Frederick's' split-finger change-up. The effective pitch led to three consecutive efficient innings for Frederick, who retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced.

"I kept the change-up down a lot better than my curveball," said Frederick. "That worked good for me tonight and kept us in the game."

Frederick scattered seven hits, posted seven strikeouts and walked just three batters in the 1-hour, 50-minute affair. Northern's five runs were unearned and the Warriors' pitching staff lowered its team ERA to 2.06 in the postseason.

Frederick also emerged the first hurler to throw a complete game in the playoffs. His effort saved the arms of closer John Wooten and Zach Mozingo, who each threw in Tuesday's come-from-behind win over state-ranked West Brunswick.

"We definitely needed some rest," said Frederick. "I knew I had to go the distance tonight, and that's what I did."

The Knights stranded eight runners on base, but left just one aboard in the final three innings. Frederick held Northern to only one hit with runners in scoring position.

"I thought Josh threw the ball better in the sixth and seventh innings than he did all night long," said Fulghum. "His location was down and he made better pitches. Even his fastball had more giddy-up on it in the later innings.

"My hat's off to Josh. He has been a little sick ... has mono, but they're letting him play. I knew he hasn't been as strong, but he threw the ball well."

Mozingo, who has two no-decisions in the playoffs, is slated to start tonight. First pitch is 7 p.m. at Death Valley on the Northern Nash campus.