Fristoe Staying Ready To Take Mound For Tilghman
By Chelsea Ladd
MCCRACKEN COUNTY - Cleats were laced, foul-lines were perfectly drawn, and the dust had been gently brushed off of the pitcher’s plate. High school baseball was within reach. Baseball players, fans, and coaches were counting down the days, it was almost here and then it wasn’t.

For seniors like Paducah Tilghman’s Jackson Fristoe, this would have been the last season stepping out on the diamond to represent his high school colors. With the rapid increase of COVID-19 in the United States, high school sports, including baseball were suspended until further notice. 

Region 1 Sports had the opportunity to speak with Fristoe on his senior season, the suspension of spring sports, being the only senior for the Blue Tornado, and his love of the game. 

Chelsea Ladd: With this being your senior year and last season as a Tilghman Tornado, how are you coping with so many uncertainties due to COVID-19 suspending spring sports?

Jackson Fristoe: It has been hard for sure. When we started hearing the season may be postponed, it just seemed like rumors. But then, four days before our first game, we got the news that it would be pushed back to April 12th. That’s 15 games that we will not play for sure. I knew it was important to be positive for my team so I put together a workout for us to do each day and we would meet and work hard to keep moving forward. I have a routine I follow every day and it’s important to stick to it. I have to work hard on my own with the resources I have and encourage my teammates to do the same. I keep in contact with them every day and just do what I can to motivate them to personally work as hard as possible. We want to be ready for the first day we can play again even though we don’t know when that will be.

CL: You’ve committed to Mississippi State, what are you doing to prepare for college baseball while being unable to play at the high school level currently?

JF: It’s all about a routine for me. I have daily workouts and a throwing program that I stick to because I know I will be my best if my arm is healthy and I stay flexible and strong. I make sure to eat like I should to keep weight on and focus on getting better every day. Even though I cannot throw in games, it is really what happens between games that will prepare me for when high school starts back up and when it’s time to go to Mississippi State. 

CL: As the only senior on the team, do you have any advice for your younger teammates that you would like to pass along to them?

JF: I have learned a lot over the years of playing baseball for Tilghman. I stated playing in 5th grade for the middle school team and in 7th grade for high school varsity. I know how important it is to have leaders on the team that treat everyone like they matter, and I try my best to spend time with each player and teach them things I have learned along the way. I really emphasize developing a routine and how important it is to keep working every day to get better. I want them to realize that it takes years of consistent practicing to get where they want to be, but they can do it with hard work. I also help if they want advice on pitching and try to pass on some of the things I have learned over the years. 

CL: How long have you played baseball and what made you fall in love with the game?

JF: I first started playing baseball on a team when I was four years old at Noble Park. Even before that, my dad would always play with me and make it fun. We were outside every day playing baseball, soccer, football, basketball – anything with a ball from the time I could walk. We would play one on one t-ball games, tackle football, basketball or soccer every day outside and we made up fun games inside too like kicking a ball past each other down the hall or a dunk contest on a plastic goal. I just grew up loving to play all sports because my dad had made it fun and it was something we always did together. I loved playing those four sports through middle school and then decided to just stick with baseball and football in high school. 

JF (continued): My goal was to play football in college, but I realized my freshman year that I loved playing baseball and just liked playing football. I began to realize at that age, you really have to love what you do to put the practice in to become successful. I also started going to a few college (baseball) camps during my freshman year and they seemed really interested in me, especially for pitching. I hadn’t pitched much at that time so it was a bit surprising – but I could throw hard and I had gotten taller, they liked my projection to develop. The summer after freshman year, I ended up committing to the University of Kentucky for baseball and decided not to play football anymore – just focusing on improving my baseball skills. (Fristoe would go on to commit to Mississippi State in 2019.) 

JF (continued): A year later, I started working with a pitching instructor that taught me about different pitch grips and the analytics of spin rate, efficiency, release points and how movement is created and from there, I really fell in love with pitching. So, it’s been a combination of playing different sports over the years and really landing over time on what I love most. My dad has played a huge part in developing my love for the game and my competitive spirit. Most of all, he has always believed in me and taught me the value of hard work and being a good teammate. 

Published 12:50 PM, Wednesday Mar. 25, 2020
Updated 06:12 AM, Tuesday Apr. 14, 2020



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