OF Nick Freitas Q&A

Sophomore OF Nick Freitas leads the team with three home runs this fall.

What are your thoughts on the team now in the middle of the fall practice season?

"Personally, I feel way closer to the team this year, being that it is my second year. The up and coming freshmen have a lot of potential and a lot of them are showing their talent early. A lot of the freshmen are really focused and it is really helping the older guys stay focused as well. We are all getting along really well and our team cohesiveness is really good right now."

You are battling for the left field position, are you comfortable playing left field?

"I am comfortable anywhere in the outfield. I am trying to just be a hitter. All you have to do is be a hitter when you are an outfielder. I worked really hard this summer to come out here and be productive. I made sure I was the strongest guy on the team this year and one of the faster guys. I just need to get on base when I am at the plate and try to steal some bases."

How was your summer?

"I had mononucleosis this past summer. Right before regionals I ended up getting sent back home to Hawaii. I ended up watching all the postseason games on TV."

How long did you feel weak from the mononucleosis?

"Maybe about three months. It started about the first week of May and at the beginning of June I went home. Right around the beginning of July I started to feel normal again. I lost about 35 pounds, so I had to gain it back this summer. I worked out with a great trainer and I played in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League."

How was the workout sessions the team went through leading up to fall practice?

"You can be in great shape, but that does not mean that you are mentally tough. When you train to get your body in shape and your mind in shape, it makes you that much better of a player because when you are out there on the field and you are tired and can't focus anymore, that is when the guy that can focus will beat you. Coach Gino DiMare is a big believer in mental strength and physical toughness, so he puts us through a lot of tough practices for a reason. He will yell at us and get down our back for a reason. He will tell you what you are doing wrong; he can find something wrong in anything you do. But when he says ‘good job that was perfect,' that is a big deal and a big reward. I think he only said that to me three times last year."

In what ways are you a better player this year than last year?

"I definitely understand situations of a ball game better. I know how to handle myself on the field better—especially under pressure. I understand how to take criticism better. Last year when some of the coaches were yelling at me, I started freaking out and I didn't understand why they were yelling. But, they yell at you because that is their job, not because they want to yell at us. All the coaches are good guys. We call all the coaches by their first name. They are above us, but more as older brothers or father figures, because we are a family."

What do you want to improve on this fall?

"I am really focusing on hitting and base running. I want to be able to steal and help the team out. I want to be able to produce runs by hitting them in and I want to be able to score runs."

Which freshmen have impressed you this fall?

"Kyle Bellamy, even though he is a walk-on, has been impressive to me as a pitcher. He is the only sidearm guy on the team and he is doing a good job out there on the mound. A lot of the young guys are coming along well. Ryan Jackson has handled himself well and so has Kevin Diego in the outfield."

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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