By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Intern
(November 11, 2013) – Flint Hill School senior and Leesburg native Reid Frazier has committed to continue his courageous baseball career at Penn State starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“I chose Penn State because it is the all-around package,” the 6-foot Frazier said. “It offers great academics with phenomenal athletics. When I was presented the opportunity to play for head coach Rob Cooper and pitching coach Brian Anderson at Penn State I knew I had found the right baseball home for me.”
Penn State Baseball gets facelift
Last season Penn State – aided by Stone Bridge High School graduate J.J. White – finished the season 14-36 and 4-20 in the Big 10 Conference, but the team underwent a change in coaching as the Division I Nittany Lions brought in Cooper, Anderson and infield coach Ross Oeder to turn around the Penn State baseball program.
Cooper is the current head coach for the USA Baseball U18 team which won gold at the International Baseball Federation World Cup in Taiwan in 2013.
“The first time I got to meet and pitch in front of coach Anderson and coach Cooper I knew that this is the program I wanted to be a part of,” said Frazier who will pitch for the Nittany Lions.
Scare in 2011 for Frazier
Every day Frazier is grateful that he still has the opportunity to pitch. In 2011, Frazier started to experience arm pain that would eventually sideline him for over a year and change his life forever.
“The only solution would be to have Tommy John surgery and endure the arduous 12 months of rehab to hopefully be able to pitch again,” Frazier said. “[Floridian] Dr. James Andrews diagnosed my injury as an improperly healed avulsion fracture. “
An avulsion fracture occurs when a small piece of bone breaks away from a ligament, in Frazier’s case in his elbow. After diagnosis, Dr. Andrews told Frazier to rehab his arm but did not perform the surgery at that point.
“Unfortunately, about half way through my 2012 season the injury worsened and I was unable to pitch anymore,” said Frazier who would end up getting surgery in June 2012. “I really didn’t want this to be how my baseball career ended.”
Luckily for Frazier, TJ surgery has come a long way since Dr. Frank Jobe first performed the surgery on Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Tommy John. John missed the next 18 months of his career, however, Frazier would only miss nine post-surgery months.
“As a family we discussed several options and ultimately I decided to repeat my junior year of high school at Flint Hill School in Oakton,” Frazier said. “Of course, a lot of people thought that I was crazy and even foolish to transfer [from Loudoun County High School to Flint Hill] going into my senior year to chase my dream of playing college baseball.
“This decision had some pretty tough realities; leaving my friends and teammates, getting up at 5:30 every morning and driving 40 to 45 minutes to and from school every day, navigating a new school and daily rehabilitation,” Frazier recalled.
No baseball for months
Frazier would undergo a grueling nine months of rehabilitation program, four months of which mandated that he not throw a baseball.
“The first time I threw with my dad it was like starting all over again and the ball shot far right or left. I didn’t have much control in the first week,” Frazier said. “Fortunately, I had no setbacks and I was able to take the mound in a game just 9 months from surgery.”
Eased into the Flint Hill program by head coach Tom Verbanic, Frazier served as the closer in his debut at the private school. The Huskies finished the 2013 season 24-6, behind Frazier who earned All-Conference honors in the Mid Atlantic Conference after posting a conference low 1.13 ERA. This year Flint Hill hopes to secure its seventh conference championship behind the strong arm of their newest college commit in Frazier.
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete.