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Chatham, Mass. — Today, we’re taking five minutes in conversation with pitcher RJ Freure. RJ is a rising sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, and hails from Burlington, Ontario Canada. RJ has been a key reliever for the Anglers this season, earning two wins and striking out 25 batters in twelve appearances. He has compiled an ERA of 4.41 over 18.1 innings.
When did you start playing baseball'
Freure: I started playing baseball when I was around three years old.
You just finished your freshman year at Pittsburgh. How did you decide to go there, and what was the recruiting process like'
Freure: Coming from Canada, I didn’t get many looks out from universities and colleges in that matter, but I was committed to a junior college in Tennessee. I was talking to Pittsburgh [for] a couple years — it just never ended up working out. They ended up losing a couple guys to the draft, and then money opened up and I was thankful enough to get the call, and it all worked out and I’m happy as I can be.
What was the transition like from living in Canada to playing baseball at an American college'
Freure: It’s really not much of a transition because where I grew up was outside of Toronto, and Toronto’s almost like Pittsburgh, it’s very city, I’m a very city kind of person. The difference was not knowing anyone coming here and definitely the money, and also I still can’t tell Fahrenheit. [Laughs] I can’t tell Fahrenheit, none of that.
Do you feel like you have made improvements to your technique and execution in your time on the Cape'
Freure: Yeah, so throughout the year I was considered more of a thrower, I just kind of tried to let it go, where here you can’t do that. I’ve learned to pitch with my stuff, do my best to work down, try to get ahead and throw my curveball for strikes, and just to make sure I don’t fall behind these hitters.
What will you take away from this summer — friendships, skills etc.'
Freure: Definitely making friends, a couple guys here I’ve played against throughout the seasons, some guys I’ve actually played against earlier in my career before coming to college. So just being able to meet up with them and now actually become friends with them, just seeing a bunch of guys that are going through the exact same thing that I am, it’s just… I’m going to take back a lot of friendships.
Do you have a favorite major league team and player'
Freure: Favorite team’s got to be the Toronto Blue Jays, of course. My favorite player is the closer for the Jays, Roberto Osuna.
Do you have a favorite meal or food that you like to eat on game days'
Freure: I don’t really have a special food on game day, but my favorite food is fettuccine alfredo.
Did you play any other sports growing up'
Freure: I started when I was young playing soccer, as many kids did, and then I played baseball for many years after that. Then I got into hockey with my buddies, played hockey for about six years, and then my parents gave me an ultimatum and I took baseball.
Do you have any pregame rituals that you do to get in the zone'
Freure: Not really, sometimes throughout the day I try to listen to country for a bit — I don’t know why, it kind of relaxes me. Other than that, I just get up there and just go.
Do you have a regular walkout song at school' If not, what would it be'
Freure: Actually I had two walkout songs this past season — one was Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That, and the other one was Sweet Child Of Mine. I don’t know what this year’s are going to be — I’ve still got to figure that one out, but I was happy with those two.
Do you have a workout regimen that you follow off the field to keep in shape'
Freure: If I know I’m throwing that day, I try not to do much heavy lifting and physical activity, just because I’m trying to be ready for the game time. But if I’m not throwing, usually I try to hit the gym in the morning, get cardio in or something, find some time. I’ll do a bit of stretching, but when it’s game day I kind of just try to relax and get mentally ready for the game.
What has been your favorite thing about the Cape this summer'
Freure: That’s a tough one… I’ve got to say definitely just the fans, playing in front of all the fans here is unbelievable. In Canada, we didn’t get many fans, at Pitt, we get a decent amount but it’s nothing like here. You’ve got the whole town behind you, and that’s awesome to play in front of every night.
The Anglers open playoff competition against the Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park, Orleans Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.