Aztec graduate Lukas Frazzini to play baseball at Northwestern College in Iowa
AZTEC — For someone who's only been pitching in organized baseball for five years, Lukas Frazzini has certainly made the most of his time on the mound.
A 2015 Aztec High School graduate, Frazzini recently signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at Northwestern College, a private school in Orange City, Iowa. He'll be going on a full scholarship.
"I didn't get any offers until really late in the summer, and I didn't know if I would get any local offers around here," Frazzini said of the recruiting process. "(Northwestern) showed interest, so I decided to go with them and not wait around, and I'm happy about it."
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound pitcher picked up a lot of momentum during June's Connie Mack city league tournament, according to his former coach at Aztec, Brett Alexander.
"One game we had bases loaded, one out, and he gets a pop-out and a ground ball, and we get out of the inning without giving up any runs," Alexander said. "Derek Martin, who helped me coach this summer and has been around baseball in this state for a long time, said, 'He can do it, he can play baseball at the next level.' So that's when we really started networking to get him signed."
Frazzini wasn't just a late bloomer in terms of garnering college interest; he was a late bloomer to finding his niche in the game of baseball, as well.
"I didn't start pitching at all until eighth grade," he said. "So I've gotten better in every way possible up to this point."
Frazzini, who refers to himself as a "soft lefty," joined the varsity team at Aztec prior to his sophomore season, but didn't become a starting pitcher until he was a senior.
He logged 52 innings pitched in 2014-2015 and finished the year with a 2.69 earned run average.
Alexander said he thinks the move away from the New Mexico altitude and the hitter-friendly Aztec ballpark (It's 360 feet to center field in Aztec and 400 feet to dead center at Ricketts Park, by comparison) will do wonders for Frazzini's pitching style.
"I told him if he can learn to pitch here, he can pitch anywhere," Alexander said. "I also told him he's going to go play in ballparks where the baseball won't carry as much. With his soft craftiness, I think he'll do just fine."
Frazzini's fastball can hit up to 78 miles per hour, and it's the execution and location of his curveball and changeup that have made him so effective.
Another advantage Frazzini has going for him, according to Alexander, is that he may still grow into his body considerably.
"I don't think he's done growing, he's got good-sized hands and feet," Alexander said. "When you see a kid that's kind of gangly and lanky with those big hands and feet, you can tell they still have some growing to do. That soft-throwing lefty may become more of a power lefty."
For Frazzini, Alexander was more than someone who taught him baseball. The impact that the recently resigned Aztec coach had on him transcended the baseball field, and that's something the young hurler said will stick when he heads to Iowa.
"He showed me that it doesn't matter how much talent you have, that you have to work hard no matter what," Frazzini said. "He made me realize that changing and evolving is a big part of life, and if you don't change, you won't get anywhere. And I use that toward my pitching."
Frazzini's new squad, the Red Raiders of Northwestern College, compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Last season, they ended up with a 25-28 record.