BASEBALL: Male Athlete of the Week: Shippensburg leadoff hitter Cole Friese gets the job done
Batting from the leadoff spot, Shippensburg's Cole Friese has one duty in mind: Get on base.
"I just know I need to get something started to either start the momentum or keep it going," Friese said. "Hopefully, I'll have other kids behind me get some hits."
Friese has certainly been doing his job. He smacked a home run that gave the Greyhounds a chance against Mechanicsburg, then he really got the job done with a pair of big hitting games against Waynesboro and Carlisle. Friese is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.
"I think the biggest thing from Cole that we see is that he finds the pitch that he can hit well," Shippensburg coach Nate Rosenberry said. "He'll use his speed to get on base if he has to, but he can also hit through the gaps."
Friese put his strong hitting skills on display with a 3-for-5, three-run performance against Waynesboro, and he just got better. In a five-inning victory over Carlisle, Friese was 4-for-4 with four runs and an RBI. He also stole a pair of bases.
"He pays close attention to the pitcher," Rosenberry said. "He sees what he can take advantage of to get opportunities to get stolen bases."
Friese also uses that speed to create extra-bases hits. Against Carlisle, he had a double and a triple.
He also used his heavy hitting against the Wildcats. The Hounds trailed by a run heading into the seventh inning before Friese rocketed his homer.
"I knew we needed to get something started, and I was going to get on base somehow," Friese said. "I really wasn't expecting a home run, though. This week, I just felt like I was trying to stay back on the ball and keep my hands low and ready."
In addition to his strong offense, Friese is also an essential part of the defense. As the Hounds' catcher, he calls the pitches for one of the best rotations in the area.
"I call the pitches, but they're hitting their spots how they should be," Friese said. "It's not that hard (to call). You just read the batters. If they're late on a fastball, you want to stick with it. If not, you gotta try to mix it up more."