06/20/09 — Josh Frederick named baseball Pitcher of the Year

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Josh Frederick named baseball Pitcher of the Year

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 20, 2009 11:16 PM

Josh Frederick knew his capabilities. He just needed a chance to prove himself.

After missing most the 2008 season with a broken pinky finger, the junior left-hander bounced back in 2009. Frederick logged an 8-1 record with a 1.86 ERA and recorded 89 strikeouts in 75 innings of work.

With Frederick as the "ace," Eastern Wayne successfully defended its Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season title and advanced to the state championship series.

For his efforts, Frederick is the 2009 News-Argus All-Area Baseball Pitcher of the Year.

Minor league standout Sam Narron, an Eastern Wayne alum, worked with Frederick during the offseason. The two hoped that the southpaw would regain the form he showed in 2008 before he suffered the season-ending injury.

The designated starter in the Warriors' season opener against West Rowan, Frederick delivered six shutout innings. He collected six strikeouts, walked one and allowed two hits.

"It was really nice to get those six innings," said Frederick. "Coach (Jabo) Fulghum told me he didn't want me throw a lot of pitches, and I threw six innings and about 60 pitches. It felt good getting the job done."

Under the tutelage of Fulghum, Frederick has learned to pitch "backwards." Known for his consistent change-up and a solid curveball moreso than velocity, Frederick worked away from hitters' strengths with his off-speed stuff and used his fastball later in counts.

"If a guy hits a fastball well, then we'll start with him with a curveball or changeup," said Frederick. "Then if we're up 0-2, we'll throw a fastball high or away. That was pretty much what we did most of the year sticking with off-speed stuff a lot and keeping hitters off-balance."

Frederick aided his cause on the mound with a deceptive pick-off move. Difficult to read from the left side, Frederick's move kept opposing runners off-balance and took pressure off Eastern Wayne catcher Cambric Moye.

"That takes a lot of work," said Frederick. "It's not natural to me, but it may be to some people. I worked on that a lot during the offseason because one wrong move and it's a balk or the person can read you easily."

Perhaps Frederick's greatest asset is his unflappable demeanor. His poise was evident when Frederick shook off a two-run homer that broke a scoreless tie against Southern Wayne in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference opener.

That composure reappeared against Northern Nash in game one of the eastern regional finals. Frederick persevered through a five-run fourth inning as the Knights cashed in on four Warrior miscues.

He responded with three shutout innings to finish off a complete-game effort and set the stage for Eastern Wayne's dramatic comeback.

"You have to pitch on an even keel," said Fulghum. "That's the way you play baseball. When the game is over, that's when you let your emotions fly. That was a typical Josh Frederick start, he didn't blame his teammates.

"That's the sign of a team player and a good player."