May 6, 2009
Travis Frembgen was accustomed to being the starting catcher for five years on the Hamilton High School baseball team.
But a year after graduating from Hamilton, Frembgen is learning what it means to have patience as a freshman backup catcher to sophomore Dustin Lunn at Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
"I''m day-to-day, basically," Frembgen said. "I didn''t play in many division games, but the guy in front of me does great behind the plate, and he''s a good hitter, also.
"I''m just waiting my turn. I know I probably could have started at other junior colleges, but I''m happy I''m here."
Frembgen has played in 11 games (five starts) and is batting .333 with a .417 on-base percentage and three RBIs.
Although he has seen limited playing time, he helped the Indians in one regard this season.
"He adds defensive skills," ICC coach Rick Collier said. "He''s ate some innings to rest Lunn up some."
A highlight for Frembgen this season was a key RBI double that helped ICC sweep a doubleheader from East Mississippi C.C.
Frembgen is trying to keep a positive outlook, and he''s optimistic he can become the starting catcher next season.
"I can''t get down on myself just because I''m not starting," Frembgen said. "(Lunn) deserves to start. He''s worked hard and he''s been here longer than me.
"I''m going to work hard this summer. I feel like I''m our No. 2 catcher now, so after (Lunn) leaves I believe I''ll be the No. 1."
Collier said Frembgen will have a chance to start behind the plate next season.
"There will be four guys coming in here next year," Collier said. "We''ll just have to see who gets after it and who gets it. He''ll have a shot at it. There''s some potential there. We get after it so hard in the fall. I''ve got four guys coming in. Whoever has a good fall will have a good chance to win the position. He has as good a chance as anybody else winning the position."
Collier sees strengths in Frembgen''s game and where he needs to improve to become the starter next season.
"He''s a good defensive catcher," Collier said. "He''s just got to get stronger on his pop time, which is from the mitt to the second baseman''s mitt. He works hard."
Lunn said Frembgen has made progress this season and believes he''s the player to beat for the starting position next season.
"He''s going to be a great player come next year," Lunn said. "I think I''m going to better him for next year by being in front of him this year.
"Travis has got great potential. I see him back there because Travis is like a wall back there. He doesn''t miss much. His only weakness right now is his arm and it''s getting stronger."
Frembgen''s adjust has been made easier by the fact that ICC is No. 4 in the nation. The Indians won the MJCAA North Division and are 40-11 after beating Pearl River C.C. in the first round of the state playoffs.
ICC will play Hinds Community College at 6 p.m. Thursday in Raymond in the four-team state tournament.
"We''re having a great season," Frembgen said. "I mean 38-10 during the regular season is unheard of. It''s amazing to come to a junior college and play on a team this talented and with this tradition. I''m just lucky."
Lunn has been a key contributor to ICC''s success. He is hitting .460 with 14 home runs, 68 RBIs, and 49 walks. He was leading the nation in home runs and RBIs before opponents started pitching more carefully to him.
1. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
4. New Hope softball escapes quicksand at Warren Central HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS