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Saugus' Dylan Freyre: Raised on baseball

Freyre learned a lot of the game from his family

Posted: May 8, 2013 9:54 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2013 9:54 p.m.

Saugus three-year varsity player, senior Dylan Freyre, played a big part in helping his team run to the CIF quarterfinals last year. Photo by Jonathan Pobre

 

Mother’s Day is Sunday and Dylan Freyre will go camping with his mother, Stacy, to celebrate.

“It’s kind of a day for her,” Freyre says. “I know we’re going to have fun.”

It’s clear that Freyre doesn’t want to shed too much light on his personal life the way he gives short answers, straying from detail. Yet he gives enough to reveal a tight bond with his mother.

It seems that if it weren’t for his mother, he would be half the baseball player he is today.

And if it weren’t for him, Stacy says she might not even be here.

Mama’s boy?

“Yeah. I guess so,” he barely budges.

“Yes,” Stacy says with far more emphasis. “But not in a bad way.”

No. Of course not. The three-year varsity infielder and returning All-Foothill League first-teamer wouldn’t want people to know that.

In fact, he makes sure to say that his father, Bryan, who’s also a regular at Saugus baseball games, has played a significant role in his development.

Yet Freyre and his sister have been raised mostly in a single-parent household, which helped the 18-year-old grow up quickly.

Being the product of that sort of upbringing has allowed him to take qualities from his father and mother.

But the unique part of his baseball development is that much of it came from his mother.

Throughout his youth, Stacy hit him ground balls, played catch with him and worked with him on his fundamentals.

“My mom teases me. When he was 3 years old, we got him the glove. He started throwing the ball to my mom.

She said, ‘Grandma taught you how to play baseball,’” Stacy says. “But I worked a lot with his swing. ... I practiced all the time with him and played catch all the time. He’d ask me, ‘Will you hit me grounders?’”

Stacy was an accomplished softball player at North Hollywood High and played in women’s leagues she says. She then began coaching and eventually became an assistant coach for her son’s travel team — the Exploders.

“She knew a lot about the game. That helped her a lot,” Freyre says. “Everyone respected her.”

“It was a learning curve for all the boys (watching us). I was the one who took him to his tryout. I was throwing the ball to him. Some of the dads were going, ‘Dang, she throws it harder than I do,’” Stacy says. “When I met his coach Steve, he saw the interest I had with him and the technique I learned through classes from the (Amateur Softball Association). I researched it. Steve scooped me right up. Actually the boys were really receptive of it.”

By the time Freyre reached high school, Stacy had to hand off the coaching duties to Saugus head coach John Maggiora.

Maggiora says he recognized early that Freyre had a maturity beyond his age.

Freyre was a varsity player in his sophomore year and batted .367 with two home runs and 16 RBIs.

His numbers dipped as a junior to .293 with two homers and 12 RBIs, however he hit .306 in the Foothill League and had a pair of one-home run, three-RBI days in helping to lead a surprising Saugus team to a second-place finish in the Foothill League.

Saugus also made it to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, the Centurions’ deepest run since 1991.

On top of what he has done numbers-wise, Maggiora points out his other values to the team.

“He’s always going to be that kid there to give a helping hand,” Maggiora says. “After we lost two tough games where we had a four-run lead (this season), I sent out a text message. ‘I’m not going to quit on you guys.’ Not every kid replied. He did. ‘Coach, I’m going to give you 110 percent of me.’”

In one of the scariest moments of his life, Freyre lent his hand.

Stacy was hit in the head by a softball as a youth and it caused her to have a seizure.

Last year, she was in the shower when she suffered another seizure.

Freyre and his sister sprang into action and helped their mother until emergency services showed up.
“If it weren’t for both of my kids I might not be alive today,” Stacy says.

Now Freyre, who wants to be a firefighter — obviously — has to help his baseball team.

Saugus is limping right now heading into its regular season finale today against West Ranch.

The Centurions have lost two straight and four of their last six games.

With Saugus one game under .500 for the season, they are facing a must-win situation to get into the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs.

And a win might not even guarantee the Centurions a spot.

Yet Freyre could have a say in the outcome.

He’s seventh in the Foothill League with a .376 batting average — clearly a tough out.

His mom and his life has prepared him for situations like this, though.

Sunday might be Mother’s Day.

Today is his.

 

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