Not Slowing Down
Sunapee Coach Still Brings It
Sunapee — There may be a little kid in all of us, but Tom Frederick may be taking that notion a bit too far.
But to look at him, you instantly realize there is nothing little about Frederick. At 46 years old, he is 6-foot-3 without any flab on his 255-pound frame — a guy who runs road races in his free time and one of the best pitchers in a men’s baseball league. On top of that, he has coached the Sunapee High School baseball team to state championships two of the last three years.
As the athletic director at Sunapee, Frederick has settled nicely in an area and a job he loves. About as much as he loves his baseball.
Frederick joined the likes of Rusty Fowler, Rick Evans, Kyle Cummings, Billy Austin and Jake Stout as the newest entry on the Sunapee Old Lakers, a member of the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League. The CRVBL is a wooden bat, no-nonsense league where the pitchers have to be at least 30 years old.
“It’s an awesome league,” said Frederick. “We’re getting to play a kid’s game again when we thought we would never play again. The players are great, and we only have to play just one game a week. We’re having a blast.”
Frederick does almost all the pitching for the Sunapee team, and has a 6-1 record with a 1.37 ERA.
“What pleases me most is the innings,” said Frederick, who has already thrown 65 innings.
Frederick says he can’t get the ball up there at the speed he once had, “but I’m a lot smarter,” he said. “I throw a lot of strikes, bend one once in a while and I like throwing change-ups.”
As a high school coach, Frederick teaches his pitchers to throw the changeup because it is so effective. “It takes a lot of practice, but once you have it down it’s one great pitch,” he said. “Pitching is timing and messing up timing.”
Baseball has been one of the most successful sports in Sunapee for a very long time. Prior to Frederick’s arrival, Dave Barry coached the Lakers to six state championships during his 35-year tenure.
So what is the secret to Sunapee High’s success?
“Well, you certainly have to have good players — and Sunapee always seems to have good players,” said Frederick. “You’ve also got to have quality pitchers — and we seem to have those as well,” said the coach, listing off the likes of Troy Fowler, Brian Brewster and James Fitzgerald.
Frederick also talked about hitters, and mentioned Jack Weinberger, who hit almost .400 this spring with two broken bones in his hand. “That was amazing,” said Frederick.
Frederick is coaching a junior Babe Ruth team (ages 13-15) this summer. That team, is 6-2 while some of the younger Sunapee kids are playing for two Kearsarge Valley Little League teams. Frederick hopes that all of this activity will lead to more championships at the high school level. “We might be going through a transition year next spring, but we should be good in a couple of years.” Frederick said.
Frederick looks a little out of his element as a road racer because of his size, but it doesn’t bother him. “There’s not many big guys out there, but it doesn’t matter. I just enjoy running,” said Frederick, who does 5- and 10-kilometer races and one half-marathon a year.
“Jon Reed (Sunapee track coach) runs all the time and got me interested in (running), and I’m glad he did,” added Frederick.
The only thing missing in Frederick’s busy sports world is sports downtime — on television.
“We get none of the sports channels, so that’s kind of a bummer,” Frederick said. “While I’m busy, I can still relax with the best of them.”