McHenry catcher Cody Freund was destined to play baseball in college. After all, his first word was “ball.”
“As far as I know, that was it,” Freund said. “I’ve never been told any different.”
Freund approached baseball with a fervor, and by the time he reached high school, he made the Warriors varsity team as a freshman.
Freund will realize that college dream at NCAA Division I Chicago State. He committed to Cougars coach Steve Joslyn on Sunday night and will join some familiar faces next year.
Former McHenry shortstop Chase Matheson is one of four former McHenry County College players on the current roster. Huntley senior shortstop Matt Sullivan also committed to Chicago State this year.
“I went for a visit this week and Chase was there on the field,” Freund said. “I talked to him this week a few times while I was trying to figure things out.”
Freund also visited D-II Lewis and Minnesota State-Mankato, D-III Augustana and talked with McHenry County College coach Jared Wacker.
Joslyn, a former Northern Illinois University assistant, is trying to turn around a program that is 32-124 over the past three seasons. One recruiting benefit for the Cougars is they play in the Great West Conference, a league that stretches from New Jersey to Texas and Utah, so players get to see lot of the U.S.
“I really like the (Chicago State) coaches,” Freund said. “Zach Badgley (a former McHenry and NIU player) knew coach Joslyn and coach Ray (Napientek, pitching coach). I feel like they have a plan and they’re going in the right direction. The new field is awesome. They’re putting stuff in and it’s close to home. Those were all big things.”
Freund hit in the No. 3 spot and played tough defense for the Warriors last year. He hit .356 with one home run and 19 RBIs and was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection.
Freund played over the summer with the McHenry County Hurricanes program.
“It’s great for him,” Warriors coach Brian Rockweiler said. “It’s always been his goal to play college, it didn’t matter what level. He’s worked extremely hard at it. He’s a great kid and leader.”
Rockweiler saw something special in Freund during tryouts three years ago. McHenry had senior Jake Poulos catching, but Freund, a left-handed hitter, proved he could hit at that level and Rockweiler found a spot at third base.
“He’s always been one to do whatever he could to help the team,” Rockweiler said. “Last year he pitched a lot for us and he threw very well.”
Freund was 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA.