For Bryan’s Logan Freeman, baseball is all about the little things.
“I’ve always played baseball,” Freeman said. “I started T-ball when I was 4 and even before that I was going into the backyard with my dad playing. The game itself is very appealing to me in the fact that you have to do all the little things right to be successful.”
Freeman encourages younger players on Bryan’s baseball team to focus on the little aspects of their game, especially young pitchers. Although he takes a back seat to coaches when giving advice, Freeman said he often tells pitchers to “look at their front hand” or “make sure they’re getting their knee back” when he notices something is not clicking during a game.
Bryan head coach James Dillard said Freeman’s drive to improve gives young players a good role model to look up to.
“I’ve coached close to 16 years of baseball and you don’t have too many kids that are like Logan as far as soaking everything in and always wanting to become a better student of the game,” Dillard said. “That’s what makes Logan special. He’s become a big leader this year. He’s just having fun, and I think that’s a big difference when you play the game without fear. It opens up so much more for him, and he’s accomplished so much more because he’s having fun.”
The Vikings have played only 10 games this season after it was put on hold due to concerns of the coronavirus. The UIL suspended all sanctioned events until at least May 4. If it’s season resumes later this summer, Bryan will resume with a 7-3 record and a bonafide senior leader in Freeman, who leads the team in hitting and pitching.
In 19 innings pitched, the left-hander has given up just one hit and one earned run with a 2-0 record, 41 strikeouts and just nine walks. At the plate, Freeman is hitting .370 while batting cleanup.
Freeman has been named the player and pitcher of the week in Class 6A this season by Texas High School Baseball and the Texas Prep Baseball Report, and he was named 6A’s Diamond Pro runner-up first half pitcher of the year Wednesday.
At the Cedar Creek tournament on March 12 — the last game Bryan played before going on the mandated break — Freeman pitched his second no-hitter of the season, striking out 15 and walking two in the Vikings 2-0 victory over Hutto.
“Anytime that you have that kind of ratio, you’re going to be successful,” Dillard said. “That basically means he’s pounding the strike zone and he’s throwing strike one and he’s limiting his walks. That’s been his biggest improvement from last year to this year — he can command the strike zone and he’s doing it with all three of his pitches, not just one pitch.”
Despite his success as a pitcher, Freeman said pitching wasn’t on his radar growing up. Instead, he saw himself as a consistent hitter. But while suffering through a hitting slump one season, Freeman began to explore other positions including pitching, and now his favorite spot on the field is on the mound.
“I love the aspect of pitching and going after it every pitch, making it to where it’s just you vs. the batter and then getting them out,” Freeman said.
If the season had continued as scheduled, the Vikings would be getting ready to travel to Houston to face Langham Creek in the second of a two-game District 14-6A series on Friday and Freeman would be preparing to either pitch or play right field. But with no games to play for now, Freeman is continuing to train like he’s still in season. Dillard said the coaching staff sends players weekly workouts and sets up Google Chat sessions throughout the week to ensure the team continues to bond with each other.
“I still throw almost every day, and I still go to the bullpen twice a week,” Freeman said. “Then every other day or every two days I’ll go to Athletes Prime with [former Bryan baseball player and Colorado Rockies minors left-handed pitcher Ty Culbreath] and we’ll do our workout there.”
Freeman signed with McLennan in December, and although he had offers from Houston, Wichita State, Samford and Texas-Arlington, he said after visiting with coaches, the Highlanders felt like the right fit. Dillard couldn’t agree more.
“You can’t go wrong with MCC,” Dillard said. “There are so many great junior colleges in Texas, but McLennan is one of those junior colleges that year in, year out they’re fighting for a spot to go to the JUCO College World Series and [head coach Mitch Thompson] does a great job there. As a pitcher, it’s a great place to go.”
With McLennan in Waco only an hour and a half from Bryan, Freeman said he will be happy to stay close to home. He also hopes to return to the Bryan-College Station area to finish his college career at Blue Bell Park.
“Mostly my grandparents are happy about [McLennan], but I’m glad it’s close to home, so that I can come back and forth whenever I need to,” Freeman said. “I’ve always grown up in Bryan and College Station, so I’ve always been a Texas A&M fan. That would be an option for me, but I will definitely keep my options open.”