SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ — It’s been a long road back for Jake Friedman, but this week the right-handed pitcher reached his destination. 

The junior on the Scotch Plains-Fanwood baseball team made a strong impact upon his return to action this week, earning a victory in his first career varsity start. Friedman’s performance on the mound is why he’s this week’s Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week.

To fully understand the value of Friedman’s performance, it’s important to examine what the righty had to endure leading up to this week. Sidelined from pitching with an elbow injury, he did not throw a pitch in high school baseball all of the 2016 season. Returning this spring, Friedman initially was placed on the Scotch Plains junior varsity team. He then pitched his way up to the varsity and made a big impact this week.  

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Thursday against New Providence, Friedman made his first varsity start and dazzled. In five scoreless innings, he struck out five batters, scattered five hits and walked three to earn his second career varsity win. Friedman lowered his season ERA to 0.84 in 8 1/3 innings pitched, and owns a record of a perfect 2-0. 

Friedman, Matt Kipp and Marc Occhipinti combined to shutout New Providence as the Raiders defeated the Pioneers, 6-0.  

"It's great to see the way he's regained strength. We've been pleasantly surprised to see how he's bounced back from his injury.  It's taken a while, but he is where he is right now by taking care of himself," said Raiders coach Joe Higgins. "Jake did a great job of getting ahead of their (New Providence) hitters." 

Last Friday against Cranford, Friedman impressed in relief, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless frames while allowing just one hit against the Cougars, eventual Union County Tournament finalists.

In addition, Friedman also picked up his first career varsity win against A.L. Johnson (Clark) on May 2. He allowed one run in two relief innings pitched that afternoon, and was the pitcher of record when the Raiders broke an 8-8 tie in the sixth inning. 

Friedman and the Raiders embark on the final stages of the 2017 high school baseball season this week. They travel to play powerhouse Hunterdon Central Friday before beginning a four-game-in-five-day marathon week to cap off the regular season next week. 

Honorable Mention: Boys' Lacrosse's Jack Brady, a two-time Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week this year, scored 12 goals and recorded eight assists this past week, totaling 20 points in the seven-day period. Brady, a junior, also recorded his 100th career point Thursday, becoming only the second Raider in history to do achieve 100 or more career points (Kevin Kerby '15). Brady won Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week honors for lacrosse on April 20 and boys' basketball on Dec. 23

Each Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week honoree is invited to submit an essay entitled, "What It Means to Be a Student-Athlete." The winning submission will receive a $1,000 TAPintoSPF-Yeti MMA scholarship in June 2017.

The Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Yeti MMA and its owner, David Martin. Located at 2507 Route 22 West in Scotch Plains (next to Bowcraft), the facility offers training in a variety of disciplines: boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and strength training. Call (908) 858-5558 and mention the TAPintoSPF-Yeti MMA Athlete of the Week and get a 15% discount on a one-year membership. For more information, email info@yetimma.com.