Frederick, Bynum help lead Royals to Northern Division championship
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 27, 2012 1:48 PM
It has been said that good things come in pairs, and for the Winchester (W. Va.) Royals, that good thing is a duo of Mount Olive College Trojans.
Outfielder Will Bynum and relief pitcher Josh Frederick have helped guide the Royals to the Valley League's Northern Division championship and No. 1 seed in the postseason. Winchester (31-13) begins the playoffs today in a best-of-three series with Strasburg.
The Royals strung together separate seven- and six-game winning streaks this summer and are among the league's leaders in team batting average, hits, home runs, RBI and earned run average.
"I played in this league last summer for a different team and some guys were there just to be there," Frederick said. "With this team, guys are here to play ball and here to win. Our coaching staff is young and they connect with us well. We just have really good chemistry throughout the whole team."
A member of the 2009 state runner-up team at Eastern Wayne, Frederick made just 13 appearances and worked only 24 2/3 innings this spring at Mount Olive.
Frederick admitted he lost confidence in himself and never mentally recovered from a couple of rough outings early in the year. The left-handed sophomore surrendered 23 runs (15 earned) on 29 hits with 22 strikeouts and 12 walks and finished with a 5.47 ERA. Although Frederick's results this summer are similar to those from the spring, his mental outlook has improved and he has discovered more about himself as a pitcher.
He has a 4.83 ERA this summer and has given up 23 runs (17 earned) on 32 hits with 19 walks and 34 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings.
"I'm just going out there and trying to throw strikes," Frederick said. "I've gained more confidence and learned more about myself as a pitcher. My struggles this year at Mount Olive were more in my head than anything. I started out throwing strikes and then I get hit hard a few times and then I was thinking about getting hit hard. It was all a head game."
Bynum, a former Greene Central standout, played in 46 games for this Trojans this past season and hit .482 with 22 stolen bases. The sophomore tallied 38 hits with 28 RBI in 100 at-bats.
Playing in the Valley League has offered Bynum the experience of getting to know new teammates, living with a host family and seeing other parts of the country. He has also worked on his approach at the plate, improved his bunting and continues to adjust to using wooden bats. Bynum is hitting .280 for the Royals with 26 hits and 14 RBI in 93 at-bats.
"I've been getting used to the pitching and the wooden bat," Bynum said. "I've been trying to sit back and see the ball and be more selective. My host family is great and it's nice being in a different part of the country for the summer and getting to know a lot of guys from different schools.
"This has been one of the best experiences of my life."
Getting to share that experience with a familiar face and college teammate has enhanced the opportunity to play in the Valley League for Frederick and Bynum. And perhaps before their summer is over, they can add a Valley League championship to their growing list of memories.