Although the season might not have panned out the way the Brookings-Harbor baseball team had hoped, the talent on the Bruins remains undeniable as evidenced by the bevy of all-league and all-state honors given to players on the team.
Senior infielder David Freeman Jr., junior utility player Cody Testa and sophomore outfielder Jon Kleespies were named first team Far West League, while senior infielder Noah James and sophomore pitcher Roman Worthey were selected to the second team.
The honors didn’t stop there however, as Freeman was also named to the all-state third team and selected for the 4A All-State game while Kleespies received all-state honorable mentions.
“That’s four years of hard work,” head coach Keith Wallin said about Freeman’s growth. “He’s so fun to coach. This year he came in with a different focus. I saw him mature tremendously in one year’s time from last baseball season to this year, and he just had the right mindset all year and he got awarded for it. He was probably legitimate MVP candidate in our league had we not finished fourth, but he clearly got recognized.
“He wants to play at the next level, and I think some people from Brookings are gonna go up and watch him play, and support him. But that’s a really big deal to get picked for that all-star game, so he’s going to get in 23 innings in one weekend, and it’s just a true testament to his character, his work ethic and his leadership.”
When asked about his growth in maturity, Freeman stated it was prompted by the realization that this year was his final one as a Bruin.
“I think the feeling that it’s my last year, and this year I got to make something happen, so it kind of set in,” said Freeman, who hopes to continue playing in college. “I kind of was able to step into shape, just work hard, motivate my team, help everybody out, share my knowledge.”
Wallin also commended Kleespies for his growth and work ethic as a sophomore.
“John had an incredible year at the plate, (he) hit the ball as hard as anybody we had on our team and did it consistently,” said Wallin. “His numbers were great; they were among the top two or three in our league, and he’s only a sophomore, so for him to get recognized really shows the work that he put in this year. His arm is as strong as anybody in the state from the outfield, (it’s) what’s going to be his meal ticket, along with other things. It’s a lot of fun to watch him grow.”
Kleespies explained that his performance on the diamond this year was simply a matter of “committing to baseball all year long.”
“Feels pretty great, like especially to come back from last year, being not as good as I could be, but this year was definitely great,” said Kleespies.