Ford makes statement in Vikings’ win

Jefferson (Mo.) College’s Brett Wiley rounds the bases Monday after hitting a grand slam in the Vikings’ win over Polk State (Fla.) at Suplizio Field.


“I can handle things, my blood pressure is intact for those situations. I hope I can help our team thatway with our experience.”

MARC RARDIN/Iowa Western Community College coach

Not far from Fred Ford’s apartment in Hillsboro, Mo., where in the winter a pond the size of a baseball infield often freezes, two-on-two hockey games tend to break out among Jefferson (Mo.) College players.

Ford not only was the Region 16 Player of the Year for the Vikings, he has picked up a reputation as a nifty puck-handler.

Teammate Brendon Neel said Ford can handle a hockey stick as well as he laces baseballs with a bat. Coach Sam Carel is not surprised.

“He’s one of our better athletes on this team,” Carel said.

Ford, who signed to play next year at NCAA Division I Western Kentucky University, went 1 for 4 in Jefferson’s 9-5 win over Polk State (Fla.) College on Monday. But his one hit was a fourth-inning RBI double that Carel said was just as important as Brett Wiley’s second-inning grand slam.

“His double put us up 6-0, and we hadn’t produced any offense in a couple innings,” Carel said.

Ford batted a team-high .432 in the regular season with 13 home runs and 68 RBI, another team-high.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder also stole 32 bases in 35 attempts.

“This year, I’ve just kind of matured as a player,” Ford said. “I’m relaxed and more in tune with everything. I’m not really feeling any pressure to do a whole lot. I have great teammates.”

Ford is 3 for 10 in the JUCO World Series with two doubles and two RBI.

But he’s also known for his defensive ability to stab rocket-shot baseballs.

Ford had one error and 404 putouts in the regular season.

“He’s just the best defensive first baseman I’ve ever seen on this level,” Carel said. “He can beat you with his bat, he can beat you with his legs and with his arm. He’s beaten people before when he goes 0 for 4 from the plate.”


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