Fronczak’s perseverance is rewarded with strong start
The way Jason Fronczak sees it, adversity is part of the journey.
The Mesa State College senior from Bishop, Calif., would know; he’s been through his share and has persevered.
The right-hander takes the mound for the third-ranked Mavericks (13-4, 3-1 RMAC) today in the opener of a four-game series against New Mexico Highlands (9-6, 3-1) at 4 p.m. at Suplizio Field.
“Everyone has problems and I have mine,” Fronczak said. “If I wanted (success) bad enough,
I’d have to go through the hard stuff to get it. There were times I was not getting a lot of innings.”
He returned this fall thinking he would pitch plenty of innings this spring, but had to get approval from the NCAA first.
Fronczak’s 10 semesters of eligibility expired, but he only played three years. He missed the 2007 season he was at Division I UC-Irvine with a torn labrum. That year, the Anteaters reached the College World Series.
“He had to persevere this fall and early in the spring knowing full well the NCAA may come back and said we’re not giving you that year,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said.
“He expended a lot of energy during a time I think a lot of guys would’ve still tried to prepare, but because of the thought in the back of their head, they might say ‘no.’ You’ve got to admire him for staying the course with a lot of unknowns in front of him. He’s got great belief in himself.”
Fronczak, who transferred to Mesa in 2007, sat out the fall semester, waiting for a ruling on his medical hardship application.
It wasn’t until two days before the Mavericks opened this season at Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University when he found out he could play.
“I was going to do what I needed to do to get ready, so if I was eligible, I would be 100 percent ready,” Fronczak said. “If not, I would see where other things go.”
He didn’t pitch the opening weekend, but he has started every weekend since and has won every game.
“He’s a guy that is tough on the mound,” Hanks said. “He’s gives us a chance to win every time he pitches. He’s a great competitor.
“He’s pitched some big games for us up to this point. He’s a guy we can count on to be ready to pitch. He’s a hard worker.”
Fronczak (3-0, 4.00 ERA) is leading the Mavericks in innings pitched (18) and strikeouts (16), limiting the opposing hitters to a .231 average.
Before he’s done, Fronczak hopes to lead the Mavericks to a national title and get a chance to pitch professionally.
“I savor every moment I’m on the field,” said Fronczak, with catcher Grant Vickers sitting nearby. “I’m getting a chance to do what I love one more time and I get to be out here with Vicks.”