Father's advice helps Frash excel at plate
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
In hitting or in life, patience has its virtues for Hawai'i designated hitter/third baseman Justin Frash.
The transfer from Oxnard (Calif.) College has been one of the Rainbows' most productive hitters this season. A disciplined approach to batting has the junior batting .404 with a .551 on-base percentage, both second-best on the team to Matt Inouye's .486 and .627.
Frash's six extra-base hits are evenly distributed at two doubles, two triples and two home runs. His 13 RBIs are second highest on the team.
"My dad taught me everything," Frash said of his father, Roger, who is assistant coach at Oxnard. From a young age, Justin was taught to get a good look at each pitch and not be afraid to hit it where it was pitched.
"When you're patient, you don't swing at (pitcher's) pitches," Roger Frash said by phone. "You swing at your pitches, so it gives you that nice little on-base percentage and makes people have to come into you instead of you going into them."
Justin's hitting approach is to use the whole field. Frash, who bats from the left side, estimates 70 percent of the pitches he sees are away. That's why of his 17 singles, nine have gone to left or left-center, four to center and four to right. But when a pitcher has come inside, he has made him pay. Five of his six extra-base hits have been pulled, including a two-run homer that gave UH the lead against Washington in Saturday's 8-7 win.
"I've never considered myself a power hitter," Frash said. "I try to hit it in the gaps."
For Frash, hitting is a daily education. In the fall, hitting coach Keith Komeiji did a little tweaking. Komeiji said he will not alter JC hitter's mechanics unless it is something drastic. But if the player seeks advice, he'll offer it.
"It's a credit to him he noticed that something was wrong," Komeji said.
"I learn stuff every day," Frash said.
Just as being patient at the plate is crucial to hitting, Roger Frash taught his son of being patient in life.
The elder Frash was the second overall pick in the January 1980 phase of the baseball draft by the New York Mets after one season at Oxnard JC. He signed, but played for only three seasons. He felt he walked away from the game prematurely. He said a little maturity might have made him stay longer. That's why he likes that his son has been able to take his career to a four-year program.
"The choice I made was an immature mistake," Roger Frash said. "I think coming out early was a big difference. I at least should've stayed another year (in college). I probably had 75 scholarships. ... The baseball game can always be taken away from you, but they never can take an education away from you."
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.