© Rick Wilson – Republican-American, June 5, 2008
It was a glorious time, a time of youthful ambition and dreams touching reality. Jay Fredlund loved his days as a Boston Red Sox farmhand from 1979 to 1983.
But those days have nothing on these days. Not when you look on the field and see your 6-foot4, 210-pound son finishing a high school career and lighting up a
Thomaston High School spring.
David Fredlund, who pitches for the Bethlehem Plowboys of the Tri-State league, will pitch his final game in a Thomaston High uniform Saturday afternoon at
Palmer Field in Middletown , with the school’s first-ever state baseball title on the line against St. Bernard of Uncasville. For all of his experiences, this is something that can’t be topped as far as Jay is concerned. “It means more when your kid does it,” the 51-year-old dad said. “I have two kids (a daughter Kristy), and I am super proud of both of them.” There are some obvious similarities between father and son that can’t be missed. The love of baseball is the obvious one. So is the size. Dad is a strapping 6-foot-6 210 pounder who looks like he can still rev up a radar gun. David is still a few inches shy of looking his old man straight in the eye. Both are also good at throwing a baseball. One in a different time, one right now. But then you start picking up the differences.
Jay Fredlund threw smoke. That old radar gun registered him at 92 mph at one point, back in 1980 or so, when he was the winningest pitcher in the Red Sox organization with a 15-6 record for Class A Winstom-Salem. It is possible he threw a bit harder than that. David’s ball takes a bit different route to the plate, his high heat flattening out at about 84 mph. “I’m more of a finesse pitcher,” said David. “I like to think that I know better at this point how to pitch than he did as a power pitcher in high school.” Dad agrees and then some. “David has a better curve ball right now than I ever had,” admitted Jay. “It was better his freshman year than I ever had. He also has a lot better control than I did when I got out of college (Lafayette) and in my first year in the pros.”
The father-son duo have found a comfortable baseball relationship. It started early when Jay would chalk out a pitching rubber on the driveway at 45 feet for Little League distance, catch David and do fundamentals. Jay tapes the games David pitches on a high school level. However, he isn’t one of those overbearing parent stories. “I think he does it mostly for us to look at later on (in future years),” said David. But he will look at mechanics and point them out. Jay has never tried to force feed David advice. Dad’s career has only been a boon to David. As he says, “Most of the guys I play with have never heard of him.” There is no pressure to duplicate.
So the state tournament testifies. Fredlund stopped Gilbert 10-3, in the Bears second round win, then was magnificient with a two-hit, nine-strikeout performance in a 1-0 win over East Granby in the quarterfinals. The younger Fredlund, who plays first base when not pitching, is also no slouch with the bat. He came through with a game-winning RBI double that was absolutely crushed into the left-center field gap in Tuesday’s 6-5 win over Sacred Heart. Jay has relished every day this spring. “It’s been a great ride to watch this year, especially in the postseason,” said Jay. “When the team wins it is fun, and this is something they will all remember.” And the best advice Jay has for David? “I stress for him to give the Lord credit for his health and tools, and I think he has,” said Jay. Two pitchers, from two different eras. One bloodline. One winning family.