Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – During his varsity debut season last summer Nolan Frey flashed the type of potential that had first-year Liberty High head coach Tom Cronk expecting big things in the future.
Frey posted a 4-5 record and 3.57 ERA in a team-high 47 innings as a sophomore last season and hit .287 with six extra-base hits.
Those numbers from Frey had the Liberty High coaching staff penciling the lefty into the top of the pitching staff and the middle of the order for years to come.
Not even Cronk could imagine what Frey would do this season for an encore.
Frey is hitting a team-leading .475 this season and has already eclipsed his extra-base hit and RBI totals from a year ago while helping Liberty High to a 6-6 record.
“Last year at the end of the year I could see glimpses that made me think he could be one of our best hitters,” Cronk said. “Did I see him hitting .500? Probably not but did I see him having great at bats? Absolutely because he’s that kind of kid and that kind of athlete.”
Frey opened the season red-hot at the plate and hasn’t slowed down.
The junior has six multi-hit games in 12 games this season after posting seven multi-hit outings all of last year.
Frey leads the Lightning in hits (19), triples (3) and RBI (17) and also has struck out once in 40 at bats this season.
“It’s been fun but that’s baseball you can get hot,” Frey said. “It’s a humbling game you just do what you can and when it is good it’s fun.”
After putting up strong numbers last season as a sophomore the breakout season for Frey has come in the first season for Liberty High in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Frey responded by going 5-for-5 against Cedar Falls in his first MVC game and is hitting .520 in conference play this season.
“It’s a very tough conference, you are seeing a lot of good pitching so it’s huge to get that mindset and get out early and get it going,” Frey said. “That was really a big confidence boost for me.”
Frey has established himself as a big-time threat in the middle of the Liberty High order while continuing to build on his success on the mound from a season ago.
Frey is 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA this season after spinning a five-inning no-hitter against Class 4A fourth-ranked West High last Tuesday.
“I’ve played with some of those guys since I was eight years old so it was fun to go out and compete against them,” Frey said. “That’s something that you look forward to all season.”
In his first career outing against West High Frey struck out nine and walked two while holding the Trojans hitless.
The no-hitter by Frey helped Liberty to a 7-0 win, it’s first in school history against West High.
“Nolan is a student of the game and we had a plan together and he executed our plan,” Cronk said. “When you can throw with command and throw three pitches for strikes you are going to have a great chance.”
The left-hander has struck out 19 in 13 innings this season and opponents are hitting just .208 against Frey.
“As good as he is on the mound, in the field or at the plate he is even a better kid,” Cronk said. “He does everything right, he’s a leader for us, he’s just awesome.”
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