power in Double A
In his fourth season of professional baseball since being drafted out of Duke University, Nate Freiman is opening a few eyes in the San Diego Padres organization.
A 6-foot-7, 225-pound first baseman for the San Diego Missions of the Texas League, the former Wellesley High School star was leading all three Double A leagues with 14 homers, 42 runs batted in and 109 total bases through Memorial Day.
His 12th round-tripper was a dramatic two-out, two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 victory over Midland on May 11.
“The Padres are looking for guys with some thump and Nate's shown great power, so there's no telling what might happen,” said Missions manager John Gibbons, formerly the skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays. “He hits everything hard, just like a 2-iron off the tee — he must have learned that stroke from Amanda.”
Gibbons was referring to Freiman's fiancée, Amanda Blumenherst , the 2008 US Women’s Amateur champion who now plays on the LPGA Tour. The two met at Duke and Freiman has caddied for Blumenherst in the baseball offseason. They plan to be married Dec. 29 in Phoenix.
“It's a long season and I don't want to get bogged down over statistics,” said the 25-year-old Freiman, who was hitting .292 through 49 games. “It's definitely nice to hear about how I rank in AA, but every day is a new day and I try to play hard and learn something new every day.
“I think this season I have a better idea and plan at the plate and how I'm being pitched to, but if you're constantly thinking about advancing to the majors, you're just making the game even harder than it is.’’
Freiman, who hit 22 homers while earning all-star honors last year in the California League, appreciates the passion of San Antonio’s fans.
“They've had a team here for more than 100 years and a lot of Hall of Famers have passed through, like Billy Williams and Brooks Robinson,” said the Missions' cleanup hitter. “It's really fun to play in a city with that kind of tradition.”
A standout pitcher and slugger at Wellesley High (class of 2005), Freiman injured his throwing arm as a freshman at Duke, ending his pitching aspirations, but setting the stage for his development as a hitter and first baseman, skills that he also honed during summers in the Cape Cod League.
Freiman, an eighth-round pick by San Diego after breaking Duke's career home run record (43) as a senior, was the second player in Blue Devil history to hit 20 homers in a season.
“He's just been tremendous for us as a hitter and in the field,” said Gibbons.
“I tell our infielders, you can throw the ball over his head, because he's such a big target and they love that. Nate will do anything for his teammates and he gives you his best effort every day. Guys get to this level because they can play the game. Some of them make the jump directly to the majors, and Nate has definitely opened some eyes within our organization.”
Lacrosse teammates reunite as all-stars
C.J. Estes and Matt Schairer, teammates on the 2007 state champion boys’ lacrosse squad at Medfield High School, were reunited May 25 at Harvard Stadium. Both suited up for the North squad in the Division 3 US Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association/Lax World Senior all-star game.
The 5-8, 160-pound Estes, who starred at Nazareth College, registered a goal and an assist, while Schairer, a standout at Keene State College, had two goals and assisted on Estes's tally. The South team scored with 14 seconds remaining for a 15-14 victory.
Estes, the Globe’s Division 2 Player of the Year as a senior before prepping at Hebron Academy, and Schairer stayed in close touch after Schairer transferred his senior year to King Philip Regional High School, where his father, Steve, was named athletic director.
A first-team Empire 8 Conference pick after leading Nazareth in scoring (27 goals, 23 assists), Estes ranks fifth all-time at the Rochester, N.Y., school with 195 career points, including 117 goals.
The 5-9, 160-pound Schairer, who started his collegiate career at Divison 2 Quinnipiac, led Keene State in points (73), assists (31) and man-up goals (6), and is the program's fourth all-time goal scorer (149). He ranks third all-time in points (232) for the Owls, who finished with a 10-6 record and advanced to the title game of the Little East Conference tournament.
into yet another hall
Make that a hat trick for former Arlington High head hockey coach Dick DeCaprio, who was inducted earlier this month into the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. DeCaprio had previously been inducted as a referee and as an assistant coach (for Hall of Famer Eddie Burns ). A former linemate at Boston University of Jack Parker, now the Terriers’ longtime coach, DeCaprio is supervisor of officials for Hockey East.
Also inducted were former Marlborough High coach John Butler and DeCaprio's longtime assistant coach Bob Chebator, who was a captain at Arlington High and at the University of New Hampshire. Butler, the father of Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Butler, who also starred at UNH, was behind the bench for Marlborough for 25 years, and retired after the 2010-11 season.
Starry haul for Brown
Three members of last fall’s Massachusetts Super 26 all-star football squad — Dual County League MVP Henry Bumpus and two-time DCL Offensive Lineman of the Year Andrew vanderWilden, both from Super Bowl champion Concord-Carlisle, and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High linebacker Will Twyman — will be heading to Providence to play for Brown University.