Sometimes a plan and some patience pay off.
Jordan Frederick can attest to that. The former Osakis baseball standout went to Scottsdale Community College after graduating high school in the spring of 2014 with the hopes of furthering his education while becoming a better pitcher on the diamond. The goal was to eventually get to a Division I program for his final two years of college.
Frederick, now a junior, pitched his way into that opportunity after committing to walk-on to play baseball with Kansas State out of the Big 12.
"This is exactly what I was looking for when I went the junior college route," Frederick said on Aug. 31, just days into his academic year. "My goal was to be able to get into a Division I program, and I'm just thankful for the opportunity. I couldn't ask for anything more at this point."
Frederick was pitching in the Arizona Collegiate Wood Bat Summer League in June before he got a call to play in the Alaska Baseball League for the Mat-Su Miners for the rest of the summer. Frederick threw well in 26 2/3 innings in Alaska, going 2-1 with 24 strikeouts, 10 walks, 17 hits allowed and an ERA of 1.68.
A couple of Kansas State players were on that Miners team and took notice. They contacted their coaches to look into recruiting Frederick, which led to him ending up as a Wildcat this fall.
Frederick was a second-team NJCAA all-region pitcher at Scottsdale Community College during the 2015-16 season. He posted a 2.94 ERA in 70 1/3 innings pitched with 79 strikeouts and a 5-5 record.
"JUCO ball definitely helped strengthen me, just physically and mentally," Frederick said. "I'd say that's probably the biggest thing. I learned a lot from the coaches there about how to approach the game."
Frederick said he topped out at 90-91 miles per hour with his fastball while playing in Alaska. He commonly sits in the upper 80s, while mixing in a curveball and a changeup that he says he's developed a lot since his high school years.
Frederick was dominant at times in high school and posted good numbers at the junior college ranks. He knows he'll need to be at his best to make an impact with the Wildcats.
"It's going to be tough competition," Frederick said. "I saw some of it and played with some of them in Alaska. It's top competition for sure. It's not like what it was in junior college anymore. It's a whole new level."
Frederick has put as much emphasis on his academics as he has on how he does on the field. He posted a 4.0 GPA at Scottsdale, earning him the NJCAA Student Athlete Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence in 2016. He's pursuing an engineering degree at Kansas State.
"I definitely take a lot of pride in my academics," he said. "It was always a big help for me because it got me here. It got me money through the academics, and every little bit helps. It's just always been a goal of mine to do the best I can in the classroom and on the field."
Frederick said he hasn't set any expectations for himself on the diamond this season. His role as either a starter or a reliever hasn't been defined yet. He's just excited for an opportunity to prove himself at this level.
"I just want to get my spot on the team and help the team in the best way I can," Frederick said. "I come at it with the same mentality I've always had. I want to earn my spot. I'm working my hardest to get to where I need to be, and hopefully it gets me there."