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On the Field, Freidrich a Natural at All Positions

TIMES STAFF WRITER

To many of his friends, Steve Freidrich is known as “Fred,” but if he continues to perform as he has for the Troy High School baseball team, another nickname may stick.

“I don’t want to jinx him,” Troy Coach Dane Ilertsen said, “but we call him Roy Hobbs after ‘The Natural’ because whatever he tries he seems to do well at.”

When Troy needed a catcher this season, Freidrich, a junior in his first full year on the varsity, made the switch from center field. He also has played a couple games at first base, and, Ilertsen said, might be used as a relief pitcher.

In a Freeway League game last Wednesday, Freidrich, The Times’ Athlete of the Week, showed why he might be one of the most valuable catchers around when he went three for three and was walked intentionally.

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He led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield hit, stole second and scored on Matt Carter’s home run. In the sixth, Freidrich hit a two-run homer, and Troy went on to defeat Sonora, 8-3.

Friday, he went two for four as Troy defeated Sonora, 13-6, to win its seventh consecutive league game.

Ilertsen is most impressed with Freidrich’s defense. Freidrich, who was an all-league receiver on Troy’s football team, is tied for second on the team with 25 assists, all of them coming on pickoffs and stolen-base attempts.

“He loves it,” Ilertsen said. “He’s the kind of kid who loves to get dirty.”

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Freidrich said he enjoys being more involved in the game as a catcher, but he’s surprised that he has been so successful in a league with such outstanding catchers as Sunny Hills’ Jason Sugarman and Fullerton’s D.C. Olsen.

“I didn’t really think I’d play as well as I have been playing,” Freidrich said.

TOP PERFORMERS

Danny Baker, a senior left-hander, pitched a one-hitter to raise his record to 9-1 as Tustin defeated Corona del Mar, 6-0, Friday.

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Chris Drummond allowed his first run for Katella in 27 2/3 innings Wednesday in the fifth inning of an 8-3 victory over Cypress.

Jim Futami pitched a one-hitter with nine strikeouts and had two hits and two RBIs to lead Edison to an 8-0 victory over Westminster Tuesday.

Billy Nguyen had 21 kills to lead the Newport Harbor volleyball team over Estancia Friday.

D.C. Olsen hit two home runs in Fullerton’s 11-10 victory over Buena Park Wednesday for his 11th and 12th homers of the season to tie the county single-season home run record. Olsen, who is hitting .623, went four for five with four RBIs last week.

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Hector Salcedo had 29 kills to lead Santa Ana’s volleyball team past Los Alamitos Friday.

Steve Freidrich

Troy High School

* Position: Catcher

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* Height, Weight, Class: 5-10, 170, Junior.

* Last Week: Freidrich went five for seven with a two-run home run and a stolen base in two Freeway League victories.

* Season: Freidrich, a catcher, is tied for second on the team with 25 assists and is batting .364 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.


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