Baseball has a funny way of rewarding those who wait. Parker Fronk found out first hand over the weekend, when the Medina graduate helped Heidelberg University sweep the College of Wooster in the Mideast Super Region and earn a berth in the Division III College World Series.
After battling a hitting slump in the previous series, Fronk found his offense at the right time.
“I was struggling a little bit, but I stayed positive and it was special to get a couple of big hits,” Fronk said. “That’s the best thing about baseball. You don’t just get one chance. You get a lot of chances. And to be able to launch a couple like that, that’s why baseball is so great.”
Fronk went without a hit in regional wins over Adrian and Denison, but the first baseman strung together a pair of two-run doubles in the Student Princes’ 8-5 series-opening win against the Fighting Scots. He added two more hits in the second game to help Heidelberg to a sweep.
The Student Princes will make their first College World Series appearance since 2010.
“It’s been a fun last couple of weeks — surreal really,” he said. “We’ve been playing some really good baseball against some really good teams, and being able to win this is something I’ve waited four years for.
“All this work has really paid off, and now we’re going to the World Series. There’s only eight teams left, and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to go to Iowa and compete for a national championship.”
The 6-foot, 190-pounder slapped his first double in the opening inning of Game 1, giving The Berg a short-lived lead. He registered his second two-bagger — his 11th of the season — for the go-ahead run.
Heidelberg broke open the second game with a 10-run eighth inning to give the senior and his teammates time to enjoy the moment.
“That was nice to be able to relax late in that game,” Fronk said. “It sunk in at that moment that we were going to the World Series. It was a pretty neat feeling.”
It’s been quite a final season for Fronk, who has been one of the top fielding first basemen in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Student Princes captured the regular-season title.
Fronk, who enters the World Series opener in Cedar Rapids, Iowa against Birmingham Southern with a .287 batting average, 38 RBIs and 25 runs, wasn’t sure how his career was going to end after Heidelberg dropped the OAC championship game to Otterbein.
The Student Princes earned an at-large bid less than 12 hours later.
“It’s hard to see a team celebrate like that. It’s a terrible feeling — one we didn’t want to feel again,” he said. “Our coaches just kept telling us that getting a regional bid and a Super Regional win is way more important than the conference tournament.
“Just to fight back from that says a lot.”
The lone senior in the starting infield, Fronk has played a key role in keeping everyone focused.
Fronk, who graduated with a degree in accounting, has led with actions more than words. He was honorable mention All-OAC, earned a spot on the All-OAC Tournament team and has 15 multi-hit games.
No matter what happens this weekend, Fronk knows these will be memories to cherish.
“It’s a great way to go out, really,” Fronk said. “Competing at the highest level, playing some of our best baseball, it’s going to be something really awesome to look back at in my later years knowing that I was able to compete for the national championship in my senior year.”