Frericks duo shuts out St. Nicholas

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Trent Jackson

TJ Frericks, a 20-year-old pitcher on the Watkins Clippers, hadn’t thrown for about six weeks. Frericks was recently diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Now in remission, Frericks turned to baseball and his father for therapy. TJ’s father Tom, who retired seven years ago, was granted a one day approval from Minnesota Baseball Association’s state board of directors to come out of retirement and catch his son.

“I needed some type of therapy for him because everything from the time he was diagnosed has been devastating news. I have always found baseball as a great sanctuary. I have been fortunate that he has always had that same passion. We know the leukemia is there, but we don’t have to eat, sleep, and drink it every day” said Tom about his decision to come back and play with TJ.

On a wonderful Friday night for baseball, the Watkins community packed Watkins Baseball Park to support TJ and Tom on “TJ Frericks Night.” The Clippers faced their Central Valley League foe St. Nicholas, and prevailed with a 10-0 victory.

TJ Frericks earned the victory on the mound, pitching 5.2 shutout innings and allowing just three hits with a couple of strikeouts. TJ talked about his experience pitching to his Dad: “It was pretty incredible. It couldn’t have ended up much more perfect than what it was and I am really grateful and thankful. I was able to fight through the tiredness and physical ware and I really couldn’t have scripted it much better.”

In the first inning, 52-year-old Tom Frerick got the Clippers offense started, as he smacked a single to left field for their first hit of the game. He also added a two-run single to left field in the fifth inning to add to his performance. “He was trying to tell me he was going to show me he could still play, it’s pretty exciting. I’m proud of him just as he is proud of me, so that’s pretty cool,” his son TJ said with a smile. “That was the part that scared me, not wanting to come out here and make a foot of myself,” said Tom about his batting expectations.

Watkins scored three in the first inning, two in the third, and five in the fifth for a 10 run, 14 hit final. Dan Berg and Adam Hiltner came into the close out St. Nicholas in the final 1.1 of seven innings (10-run rule).

Watkins moves to 14-3 on the season with the victory.

TJ and Tom were able to make a once in a lifetime experience happen after some recent tough times. “It was unbelievable. He’s always trusted my baseball knowledge as he came through the different ranks, and I’ve always taught him it is mind before body in this game. That’s what was really cool tonight, being able to mix wits with a kid you’ve taught how to go about it. It was a very unique situation,” Tom spoke of his experience catching his son.

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