Bubba Frichter’s assessment of his Enterprise State Community College baseball team included a reference to the recent weather.
“I can’t really tell you a whole lot about our team so far other than we’re really, really good about running in the rain,” Frichter deadpanned at the local JUCO Media Day hosted by Encore Sports Medicine last week in Enterprise. “They do a fantastic job of that. That’s all we’ve been able to do so far.”
Of course, when the rain stopped the temperatures plummeted and a bundled up Frichter nearly resembled Admiral Robert Peary at Monday’s practice.
He makes no predictions, but it’s evident the head coach likes this team.
“This is a very unique group. We’re very young. We have 12 sophomores, but really only two of those players, position player-wise, were major contributors from the standpoint of playing every day,” Frichter said.
He said his team has leaders at every position group — on the mound, behind the plate, in the infield and in the outfield. He talked about the progress pitcher Alex Friesen from Dale County has made from his freshman year to his sophomore campaign, as well as other top leaders. He mentioned a transfer, pitcher Jarrett Miller from Plymouth, Ohio, who played at Purdue-Fort Wayne.
“The other day he comes in and says, ‘Yeah, you gotta sign an Ohio kid to win a championship,’” Frichter smiled, referring to quarterback Joe Burrow leading LSU to the football national title. “He knew I’m a big LSU fan.
“Austin Thrasher, a local guy from Northside Methodist, just received a 50 percent offer from Furman. That’s a big-time academic school. The guy can really swing the bat, plays hard. I look for him to have a few more offers. Good leader there.
“Next to him we’ve got a guy who transferred in, Delvin Gomez, from Los Angeles. He’s not your typical California kid. He really, really fits in with us. Super, super leader. It’s just amazing to see what he has done and how he has adapted so quickly. In the outfield, we returned our center fielder, Kyle Vogler.”
Vogler, Frichter said, represents what the Enterprise State program is about.
“In high school Kyle was a guy who had zero offers,” the coach said. “Nobody wanted him to walk on. We gave him an opportunity to walk on because we saw some things we liked. He came in and won the starting job as a freshman. He hit over .300.
“He didn’t tell me until after the year that he had never hit over .250 in high school. He earned a scholarship and he’s getting four-year offers. I even had a few pro guys kind of mention him. That’s a testament to our program and how we develop our guys and help them move along.”
He also likes this group because there is accountability among the players.
“I think our freshmen are very, very mature. It’s definitely a brotherhood, not a buddy system,” Frichter said. “They can’t be buddies. They need to be brothers because buddies are going to turn an eye whenever somebody doesn’t do something right.
“Brothers hold you accountable and these guys are not afraid to do it. They’re not afraid to get in each other’s face and say, ‘Hey, you’re not doing your part, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.’ And the next day, they’re right there with them helping each other. That’s very, very important.”
Frichter said player development is a key goal of his program.
“I want our players to develop into the best player they can be. I want them all to be first-round draft picks,” he said. “We talk about that. Does that happen? No, of course not. But when they come into our program, we want to give them the best opportunity to succeed and to move on to the next level.
“We’re not done with them after their sophomore year. … We’re a family here. My expectation as a coach is to help these guys develop and move them on.”
Even though the Boll Weevils are coming off a 13-30 season, Frichter wasn’t playing around as he talked about the team’s goals.
“Our team goal, that’s something we all wrote down and turned in, our team goal is to win the national championship,” he said. “That’s always going to be a goal. If a coach, from the win-loss standpoint, doesn’t want to achieve that goal, I don’t think they’re doing their kids justice.”
He knows that’s “icing on the cake.”
“I’ve been fortunate to coach and play on national championship and conference championship teams,” Frichter said. “As a coach, it’s very, very gratifying to see that dogpile because it’s not something I want for myself, but to see those guys, see the jubilation on their faces, that’s worth it.
“I’ve been fortunate to have guys move on, get drafted, play in the big leagues, things like that. To see those guys achieve their goals, to see them on TV, for me as a coach, that’s why I do this.”
The season starts Feb. 6 with a doubleheader against Spring Hill’s junior varsity in Mobile. The home opener for the Weevils is Feb. 25 against Andrew College at 1 p.m.
Enterprise will also play two games in Dothan on Feb. 15 at Westgate Park in the Hits For Heroes series. They will play national power Chipola at 9:45 a.m. and Wallace-Dothan at 3:30 p.m.