MEDFORD, Ore. – Two years ago, Ashland’s Steen Fredrickson and North Medford’s Colton Westfall were coming off their freshman years. Coming off his sophomore year was Cascade Christian’s Isaiah Luzny. Fredrickson was a flame thrower with a sharp curve, Westfall a horse that could get you out with several different pitches and Luzny a crafty lefty whose small frame belied his ability to dominate hitters, but all three had the makings of an ace, and each became number one on their high school teams, but on the Mustangs, each fell into different roles.
“They’ve accepted new roles with maybe not starting, maybe coming in and closing, maybe coming in for two innings, and so every single one has done that,” Mustangs pitching coach Paul White said.
“Through tryouts, coming out on the field, seeing those 24 guys that were there and knowing how many of them pitched. I think when they asked who pitched, 21 of them raised their hands,” Fredrickson said. “To know that, it wasn’t hard to accept my role at all.”
And that’s perhaps a change in the three hurlers compared to their first year with the team.
“It was a little bit frustrating to me because I wasn’t used to it,” Luzny said. “I was used to always starting, but I think it’s more of a mature thing, like once you get older, you just learn to accept the role you have.”
All three players agree that for them the biggest difference between 2012 and 2014 is that “M-word.”
“I got way more mature,” Westfall said. “I got way more mature, now knowing about baseball pitching, just pitching-wise.”
“Before, when I’m a young guy, I’m just sitting on the bench,” Luzny said. “I’m just watching and cheering and having fun. Even if we lose, I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Whatever,’ but as an older guy, it’s more a mature thing and you’re always in the game.”