When college coaches head out on the recruiting trail, the one thing that they look for are individuals that are multi-sport athletes and players that are getting things done in the classroom. Joey Friedel from Fort Zumwalt South has checked all those boxes in his career as a Bulldog.
Friedel helped the Bulldogs to the quarterfinals in basketball before falling to Chaminade this past winter. But it is what he did in the extremely impressive spring. He led the Bulldogs baseball team to a 20-9 record before they fell to Howell in the district semifinals. Friedel also was a leader for the Ft. Zumwalt South golf team as he placed third in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 4 state championships. That is a feat that you just do not see very often, especially in the bigger schools in the state.
On the diamond this spring, Friedel was third on the team with a .409 batting average while driving in 28 runs and hitting eight doubles. On the links, He shot a 149 in the state championship to earn third place. Friedel had one of the best rounds in the area earlier this spring with a one-over-par 72 in a match in early May. The incredible thing was that he played the first round of the state golf tournament in the morning and then turned around and played in a district baseball game later that day. He then returned to the state tournament that evening and fired a 75 the next day to help him earn a spot on the podium.
It has been a long last and very busy last six months for Friedel as he ended his career, but it is something that he is going to cherish for the rest of his life.
“Staring with basketball, last year we did not have the season that we wanted to,” stated Friedel. “We were ready to go this season with a lot of guys having another year of experience under their belt, so that helped a lot. Four of the starters have been playing together since fourth grade and some of the others coming off the bench have been with us for a long time as well, so that helped.”
Being successful in the spring had its challenges as it is not easy to play baseball and golf at the same time. Friedel was able to use his ability to make things work and excel at both.
“I think that honestly, people think that it is tough to do both with the swings and such because they are not the same,” said Friedel. “Over the years, I have been able to get used to it, and with my dad being the baseball coach, that helped. The golf coach was also very supportive of me doing both as I missed some golf practices.”
Doing all of this in the spring meant that Friedel had to use those extra hours in the day to work on his craft in both sports to make sure that there was some balance. This also meant that he would have to manage his time to get his classwork finished as he was named to the All-GAC All-Academic team earlier this week.
“Honestly, it was the teachers who were super cool about what I was doing, and I had a lot of great teachers this year,” stated Friedel. “At the beginning of the spring, I communicated to my teachers that I would be missing some classes and I knew that I would have to play catch-up a lot with my academics and they all helped me a lot along the way.”
Friedel was quick to acknowledge his teammates on both teams on how supportive they all were as he was doing something that you rarely see in a season. This support helped Friedel be successful and accomplish his goals.
“My teammates were cool about what I was doing,” said Friedel. “That was something that I was worried about coming into high school as I knew that I would be missing practices in both sports and how that would affect everyone else. They were super cool about it and did not give me too much trouble about it.”
The two-day stretch that Friedel pulled off was a feat that not many student-athletes would be able to do. The mental and physical toll that off the charts during that stretch with playing in the first round of the state golf championships in the morning, then getting into the car and driving back to play in the district baseball game later that afternoon. He then got back into the car and drove back to New Bloomfield for the final day of the golf championships.
“I got to the golf course Sunday afternoon and did some practice stuff by hitting some balls and seeing the course,” stated Friedel. “I then played Monday morning in the first round. I was very confident going into the tournament as I was playing well at the time. I played great in shooting two-over-par in the round and was one stroke off the lead, so I knew that I was in contention. Baseball was playing Liberty in the district later that day and they were good so I knew that it would be a tough game for us. Mentally, I knew that I needed to drive back and play in the game. I would have been worried about the game and how the team was doing. On the car ride back, we stopped and got something to eat and then fell asleep for the rest of the drive. After the baseball game, we got back into the car and drove back to golf. I was very tired after that and when I got to the practice range the next day, I could feel that my legs were gassed. I just said to myself that I have one round left in my high school career and that I needed to play a good round.”
In playing three sports in high school, you know that one of those sports must be the favorite. Friedel excels in all three, but yes, he does have a favorite.
“If I am going to be honest, I enjoy playing basketball the most as my whole life it has been that,” said Friedel. “But I am the best in golf out of the three. I have played baseball since I was five years old, so I love that as well.”
Another part of the equation for Friedel was that he had the chance to play for his dad, Bill Friedel in both basketball and baseball. The experience that he had was amazing and something that he will cherish for the rest of his life.
“It was awesome to do this with my dad as my coach,” stated Friedel. “I always was looking forward to varsity sports and playing for him ever since I was a kid. Just going to practices while I was growing up and then winning districts this year in both sports was a great experience.”
Congratulations to Joey Friedel on being named our HSSC/Scoops with Danny Mac Student-Athlete of the Week and we wish him the best of luck as he heads to Missouri S&T to further his academic and golf careers in the fall.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan