College first-year Jake Freed, who plays for the College baseball team, was named Rookie of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association last week. From Vernon Hills, Illinois, Freed was recognized for his outstanding performance against Hilbert College to kick off the Yeomen’s season.
Head Baseball Coach Adrian Abrahamowicz had nothing but high praise for his first-year player.
“[Freed] has really walked into Oberlin holding the same standards as a [third- or fourth-year],” he wrote in an email to the Review. “His work ethic has been great since the first practice this fall.”
Freed went five-for-seven in the doubleheader against Hilbert with three runs batted in and two runs, along with two stolen bases and a triple. He also pitched a relief inning and registered his first career strikeout. He continued with this high-level of play against the Allegheny College Gators with three hits and a three-run homerun to tie the game. He currently leads the team in hits, runs, and RBIs.
After the spring season made an abrupt return, Freed says their team practices have started to ramp up in intensity. Practices now feature more live at-bats between pitchers and hitters and preparation for other game situations. The cold Ohio weather has kept the team from practicing outside as much as they would’ve liked, but Freed says they’ve learned to adapt.
“Even with these obstacles, I think our coaching staff did a great job preparing us for these games,” he said.
Abrahamowicz knows that Freed’s talent is outstanding, but says the demeanor and the way Freed mentally handles himself on the field has distinguished him this season.
“I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring him,” Abrahamowicz wrote.
During this shortened season, Freed is looking to simply improve his game and get a feel for what college baseball is like.
Most student-athletes never expected to compete this semester — Freed’s collegiate baseball game was a surreal moment for him. He hasn’t represented his school in a game since his junior year of high school, so getting back on the field was a great feeling.
“With only five games this season, I want to make the most of it going into the fall and next spring,” he says.
Natalie Winkelfoos, Associate Vice President for Athletics Advancement and Delta Lodge Director of Athletics & Physical Education, is also ecstatic about the return of Spring athletics along with this exciting news.
“The stress and heartbreak we have all been feeling without sports is real,” she said. “Nothing can replace the joy and adrenaline of a competitive game, match, or meet — nothing.”
Freed has been playing baseball since he was around five or six, beginning with tee-ball. He credits much of his success to his dad.
“He motivated me from a young age and truly allowed me to find my love for the game of baseball,” he said. “I decided to play in college because it’s my true passion.”
Freed considers being named NCBWA Division-III Rookie of the Week a great honor.
He is hoping to build off the accomplishment in the future. This summer, he is planning to spend a lot of time in the weight room and practicing in preparation for the fall.
“I’m looking forward to getting the whole team back together next year and anticipating big things for us come next spring,” Freed said.