TRINITY — People now know of Kyle Frick.
Frick, Mitchell High’s 6-foot catcher-turned first baseman, is making a name for himself on a team where its not easy to announce one’s presence with authority.
“If anything,” Mustangs coach Scot Wilcox said, “there’s extra motivation here to be the next guy that gets noticed either by college coaches or scouts or other county teams.
“People know who Kyle Frick is now.”
Frick, a sophomore, has become Mitchell’s (12-9, 2-2 Class 6A-District 10) offensive threat, despite being on a team with six seniors, including highly touted nationally known FSU-commit Cobi Johnson.
Frick leads the Mustangs in most offensive categories, including average (.435), hits (27), RBIs (23), doubles (8) and homers (2) and had the game-winning hit against Wesley Chapel on April 3.
Yet Frick is a young name in a program that has produced other players such as Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A prospect Patrick Schuster and Tampa Bay Rays Class A prospect Ryan Garton.
“Guys likes like Cobi or Patrick or Tyler — some can’t believe (playing at the next level) can be done, but it humanizes it on their level,” Wilcox said. “That motivates the new guys.”
Wilcox said moving Frick to first base allowed him to keep a big right-handed bat in the lineup and also have senior catcher Erik Howard (only three fielding errors) behind the plate.
“I’ve been a catcher since I started playing ball in Little League,” Frick said. “But, as a sophomore, to be able to focus more on hitting, that’s been great. I think I can contribute as a sophomore and I’ve worked hard to do that.”
Wilcox adds Frick is also capable of playing the outfield, making Frick a near-super utility player that uses his speed and athleticism to his advantage.
“I project him to be catching the next two years,” Wilcox said, “but you don’t know what the team may need next year. I may need him in the outfield, I may need him to stay at first, but whenever a coach asks where you can play, you should say, ‘Wherever you need me to play.’
“That’s Kyle. He just wants to help the team win and playing first is how he can.”
More than anything, Frick, Wilcox and the rest want a shot at returning to the region final, which the Mustangs reached for the first time last season.
“We’re capable of going very far, but Osceola is very tough because they have (top-ranked high school prospect Keith) Weisenberg,” Frick said. “But he’s beatable. He tops out at 95 (mph), but he only hit 89 against us.”
The Mustangs lost 3-0 to the Warriors (17-4, 4-0) on April 2, but Mitchell lacked timely hits to drive in its runners in scoring position.
Mitchell will also need to avenge a 10-6 loss to Spring Hill Springstead (11-10, 3-1) on Tuesday if it looks to get back into the region tourney after the district tourney Osceola hosts beginning April 22.
“The team is loose and we’ve been pushing through adversity,” Frick said of the team that lost only six games in 2013. “We’ve learned from our losses and the ones we do have, we’ve lacked hits and scoring runs. We’ve done well at refocusing the next day and working on what we lacked the night before.
“We always talk baseball and encourage each other all the time, so we’re still positive on the outcome of the rest of our season.”
Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.