NewsTribune Athlete of the Week: Mendota’s Braiden Freeman

Junior struck out first 10 batters he faced in win over Indian Creek

Braiden Freeman

Mendota junior Braiden Freeman got into the groove early when he took the mound against Indian Creek on March 20.

Freeman struck out the first 10 batters he faced as the Trojans cruised to a 14-3, five-inning nonconference victory.

Freeman earned the win, allowing one earned run on two hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk in four innings.

“Braiden pitched a great game for us versus Indian Creek,” Mendota coach Cody Zinke said. “He came out and really established his fastball early. He was able to locate it really wherever he wanted, and when he can do that, he’s really tough to hit.

“He’s at his best when he gets into a good rhythm, not working too fast or too slow, and I think he did that well that game.”

For his performance, Freeman was voted the NewsTribune Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Sullivan’s, Grasser’s Plumbing & Heating and Central Bank.

Freeman answered some questions from NewsTribune sports editor Kevin Chlum.

When did you start playing baseball, and how did you get into it?

Freeman: I started playing baseball when I was 5 years old with Mendota Little League. My dad and I would play catch when I was little, and this started my love for baseball.

What do you enjoy about playing baseball?

Freeman: I enjoy being competitive and being able to play a variety of positions while playing baseball with my friends.

What makes you a good baseball player?

Freeman: The dedication, time and hard work I’ve put into the game on and off the field. My coaches and teammates push me to be a better athlete.

Who is the best athlete you’ve ever faced who wasn’t a teammate?

Freeman: The best athlete I’ve ever faced was (former Princeton quarterback/cornerback) Teegan Davis in football.

Besides Mendota’s field, where’s the best field you’ve played?

Freeman: Besides Mendota’s field, the best field I have ever played on was at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Ky.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Freeman: I would go to California to enjoy the beaches and warm weather.

With what food could you win an eating contest?

Freeman: I could win an eating contest by eating beef and cheese tacos, because that is my favorite food.

What is a TV show or movie you never get tired of watching?

Freeman: A TV show I never get tired of watching is “Impractical Jokers.”

If you could get advice from anyone, who would it be and why?

Freeman: If I could get advice from anyone, it would be from my dad, because he is very knowledgeable and always has the right things to say. Even though he has taught me so much, there is so much more to learn.

What are your thoughts on your individual performance last week?

Freeman: I thought I did well, but there’s room for improvement. Before the game started, I set a goal for myself to have 12 strikeouts and no walks. Even though I fell short of my personal goal, I thought I performed well and helped our team get the victory.