Junior Victor Frederick of St. Dominic is enjoying a great start to the season both on the mound and at the plate, NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Victor Frederick tore a ligament in his ankle playing a game of pick-up basketball in January, which was precisely what he was desperately trying to avoid. The St. Dominic junior left the basketball team after his sophomore year to focus more on pitching, a skill that will take him to St. John’s after his high school career is over.

It was time to get serious about baseball, and basketball would have to take a back seat. But then, during a fun 5-on-5 after lifting weights, the worst happened.

“It was discouraging because I thought, ‘Oh, baseball season is right here,’ ” Frederick said. “But I was just determined to get ready for the season, because it’s my junior year. I knew I was going to be an impact player on the team this year.”

The injury turned out to be not as bad as Frederick feared, and after a month, he was throwing again and ready to go. His early season performance has left no doubt that the left ankle is where it should be. Frederick, working with what he described as less than his best stuff, allowed one hit and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings as St. Dominic earned a 4-0 win over previously unbeaten St. Francis Prep in a CHSAA baseball game on Tuesday. He also went 3-for-3 with three singles. 

Frederick retired 12 of the first 14 hitters, with a two-out bunt single in the fourth breaking up his no-hit bid. The win moved Frederick to 3-0.

“I thought I’d be a little farther behind, but I’ve prepared well for the season and I’ve performed well,” said Frederick, who is Newsday’s Athlete of the Week. “But I’m not content with that. I strive to always do better.”

Frederick said his velocity was down on Tuesday. At the end of last season, he was throwing anywhere between 87-89 mph. Against St. Francis Prep, he was barely touching that in the opening innings, and he said it decreased as the game went on.

“We just worked with what I had,” he said. “We were throwing a lot of sinkers and I located the breaking ball when I needed to in big spots.”

The sinker, coincidentally, is Frederick’s best pitch. He used that to keep the ball on the ground and trusted his fielders to do what his fastball couldn’t seem to — get batters out.

“That’s generally a little slower than my four-seam,” Frederick said of his sinker. “It has good movement. I think I threw six pitches in the first inning. I just got two easy ground balls.”

With that start in Frederick’s rear-view, he’s had time to reflect on what he was able to do, even with the velocity issues.

“It definitely does boost my confidence," he said, "knowing that I could go out there with not my best stuff and still do well."

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