BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - For Governor Livingston head coach Chris Roof, the answer was simple. With his team one victory away from advancing to the Group 2 championship, Roof didn’t hesitate to put senior Ethan Frohman on the mound against Buena.
A matchup against the defending state champions and No. 20 team in the state would be no small task. And throw in the fact that Buena would arguably be his team’s toughest opponent of the season, the answer was made even simpler.
Frohman rewarded his coach’s faith in him with as masterful a postseason performance in Governor Livingston baseball history. The senior ace pitched a complete game on a 100 pitches while striking out 11 batters to go along with zero walks. The end result was a 3-0 shutout of Buena and a trip to the Group 2 championship where Frohman and his teammates defeated Bernards for the team’s first championship since 2011.
Frohman’s masterpiece against Buena sealed the deal for Frohman being named the Union County Player of the Year after a season in which he posted a 10-2 record on the mound. Frohman, who is headed to Lehigh, was also named Third Team All-State, First Team All Group 2, and was selected to pitch in the New Jersey State Senior All Star Game.
The postseason awards should come as no surprise when your final stat line includes a 1.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts while allowing just 14 earned runs and 15 walks in 72 innings.
Keep your jaw dropped because the stats don’t stop there. At the plate, Frohman registered 24 hits, 26 RBI, 24 runs scored, and 22 walks.
Add all of that up and a strong argument can be made that the savvy senior, who’s as cool and calm as they come, should’ve been named the state player of the year as well. But you won’t hear Frohman making that argument. He’d rather talk about his team’s state championship run.
“The county player of the year award is just something extra,” the humble Frohman said. “Winning the state championship was the big thing. I honestly wasn’t thinking about winning a player of the year award coming into the season. With the way last season ended for us, winning a championship provided enough motivation for me.”
Frohman’s performance in the Group 2 semifinals against capped the “great career of one of the best-if not, the best pitcher in Governor Livingston history” as Roof stated. It’s those types of performances and easy decisions Roof will miss about Frohman.
“Winning the county player of the year is a great honor for Ethan and he’s well-deserving of it,” Roof said. “For a coach, Frohm is one of those types of players that come around once or maybe twice in a lifetime. And it’s important for coaches to cherish those types of players when you have them. I’m going to miss handing Ethan the ball.”
Frohman not only made things easy on his coach but also on his teammates. Each time Frohman stepped on the mound, his coaches and teammates possessed a calm that Frohman would find a way to get it done. And much more often than not, Frohman delivered as evidenced by his combined 17 wins the past two seasons.
Considering how calm Frohman appears on the mound, his coaches and teammates didn’t have much choice but to be calm. Frohman has a look on the mound that he has everything under control, which he did. The great players have a way of making their craft look very easy and effortless and Frohman was no exception, especially this past season.
Time and time again throughout the 2015 season Frohman stepped up and made plays in the biggest moments just like the great ones do.
One of those moments came in the Union County Tournament semifinals against Johnson. With his team trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning and two runners on base, Frohman smacked a game-tying two-run triple near the center field wall. Frohman would go onto score his team’s go-ahead run from third and added a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Highlanders would go on to defeat Johnson, 5-3, and advance to the final against Cranford. If Frohman hadn’t stepped up when he did, the game’s outcome could’ve been much different.
The added power at the plate Frohman showed in the Johnson game was an extra dimension he added to his game during the offseason. Frohman hit the weight room hard in the offseason and the added bulk lead to the added power both at the plate and on the mound. Frohman even enlisted the help of pitching coach Chris Eickhorse of Bridgewater’s Zone Sports Academy.
The combination of working with Eickhorse and the increased weight room work created an even scarier monster in Frohman for Governor Livingston’s opponents to deal with.
“All the hard work in the offseason really paid off,” the soft-spoken Frohman said. “I feel like I threw a lot harder this year which led to more strikeouts and I didn’t walk as many guys.”
After throwing 53 strikeouts in his junior season, Frohman nearly doubled that total this season with 101 in addition to his walks decreasing from 17 his junior season to just 15 this season.
A star like Frohman could easily pat himself on the back for his numerous accomplishments this year like a lot of other athletes his caliber do. But you won’t hear Frohman doing such. He’s quick to compliment others rather than himself and understands that his coaches and teammates had as much an effect on him as he had on them.
“My teammates played great defense behind me all year and all the coaches did a great job,” Frohman said. “I especially have to give a lot of credit to Coach Roof. I wouldn’t be half the player I am if not for what he’s done for me on and off the field. Coach Roof has done so much for me and my teammates.”
Frohman may not want to commend himself but anyone who’s followed him and his team this season will. There’s no denying how critical Frohman was to his team’s success this season. Frohman was responsible for 10 of his team’s 28 wins this season and kept the team in every game he pitched.
As if he hadn’t done enough during the regular season, Frohman seemed to elevate his game during the state tournament run. Frohman struck out a combined 24 batters in the three games he pitched and while he wasn’t eligible to pitch in the championship game against Bernards, Frohman found a way to impact the game in other capacities. In his last game in a Governor Livingston uniform, Frohman had a hit to go along with an RBI and scored two runs himself to help his team clinch their ultimate goal of winning a championship and a goal he’s very proud to have accomplished not only for himself, but for his teammates.
When you win championships and play as huge a role as Frohman did in winning them, the awards will come. And for Frohman, winning the Union County Player of the Year to go along with a state championship is as high an honor the senior can go out on. Frohman has given everything he’s had to the Governor Livingston program during his career and now has the ultimate rewards to show for it.