The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

June 30, 2006

Former 'Dog' Fronk comes close to series

Reid Fronk has had a few days to think about it, remember the experience and atmosphere of the College World Series. Earlier this week, Fronk and his North Carolina teammates were playing for college baseball’s national championship, a bunch of athletes who often toil in anonymity competing under the game’s brightest spotlight.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Fronk, a former Mankato MoonDogs player, after returning to the Chapel Hill campus. “When we first got (to Omaha, Neb.), it was pretty crazy, all the hoopla, signing autographs. It was everybody’s dream.

“But once we got there, it was a ton of fun. When we started playing games, it was all business.”

In six games at the College World Series, Fronk was 7 of 22 for a .318 batting average. Hitting in the second slot, the lefthanded-hitting third baseman scored five runs and drove in three as the Tar Heels came within one victory of the title.

“I think I had a good series,” Fronk said. “I hit the ball, made a few plays. Everybody wishes they’d got one more hit, but you’re never perfect in the box. You do what you can, and we came up just a little short.”

When the team returned to Chapel Hill on Tuesday, the team was greeted by about 1,000 fans, with more kids seeking autographs. It’s not quite the celebration the campus hosted after the men’s basketball team won the national championship in 2005, but it remains special for Fronk.

“Everybody’s been crazy, congratulating us,” he said. “When we got off the bus, it was pretty unexpected. I guess we’re a little bit more known.”

Fronk was one of the MoonDogs’ top players last summer, playing the majority of the time at third base. He batted a team-high .333 with 12 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 34 RBIs. He was an All-Star starter and ranked as one of the top prospects in the Northwoods League.

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