'Born athletes' Mason Lunzman, Max Fronk keep getting better
Mason Lunzman and Max Fronk are both part of the Jamestown High School and Post 14 Legion baseball teams. The duo will also be playing for the JHS tennis team this fall.
JAMESTOWN — If Mason Lunzman isn't playing basketball, he's out rounding the bases at Jack Brown Stadium and when he's not there, he's out at Jamestown's Bollinger tennis courts.
There's literally no offseason for the kid.
Lunzman just finished the American Legion baseball season. The Jamestown Post 14 Eagles entered the 2022 AA Legion State Tournament as the No. 7 seed but proved to be a dark horse as they knocked off three straight teams — the second-seeded Bismarck Governors, West Fargo and the top-seeded Fargo Post 2 team.
Prior to donning the Post 14 uniform, Lunzman finished out his junior baseball season in the Class A State Tournament. The Blue Jays wound up fifth in the 2022 state baseball tournament.
"I don’t think pressure is much different but I do think that in summer we are a little more loose because of no school and things like that," Lunzman said of how the two baseball seasons compare. "One of my goals was to have less strikeouts than I did last year and the (main) team goals was to go all the way and be state champs."
Check and almost check.
Lunzman's stats indicate he only had 16 strikeouts all season long while he delivered 33 Ks from the mound. Lunzman was batting .256 this summer, delivering two of the team's four triples.
After its Cinderella run in the tournament, the Eagles wound up dropping 2-1 to West Fargo in the title tilt. The Eagles advanced to the Legion state title games in 2021 and 2022.
During the prep baseball season Fronk was .148 at the plate. He had a fielding percentage of .987 only tabulating two errors across the three months. During the Legion season, Fronk held a .311 batting average. He had 19 hits, driving in 13 runs. He was perfect out in the field during the Legion season.
Lunzman and Fronk will now have about 10 days to rest and recuperate before they are catapulted into their final season with head coach John Ness and the Blue Jay tennis team.
"I’d say that (tennis) is less competitive just because it’s not really my main sports but I also like to win at the same time," Lunzman said of tennis. "It’s just overall pretty fun and having good friends in it helps make it more fun. Also coach Ness is a great guy and good coach for the team."
While they have not been participating in much offseason tennis training, Ness said since Lunzman and Fronk both have experience playing baseball at a high level, it has aided their tennis game and they will be ready to go once the tennis season kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Lunzman said baseball helps him stay in shape and keeps his arm loose for when the tennis season ramps up.
"When you have hand-eye coordination like these guys and strong arms from pitching and throwing baseballs you can translate that into a serve and a swing-path for tennis," Ness said. "They are just putting those things together as an athlete with the hand-eye and quick feet.
"When you start getting older you see a lot faster of pitches and that will correlate as far as seeing the ball better when you are playing someone who hits the ball fast. You are used to speed and having to connect with a ball that is coming at you pretty quick. It's the same type of thing just in a different way."
Lunzman along with Gage Orr got to the 2021 State Doubles Tennis Tournament. The Jays' No. 1 doubles team wound up placing sixth in the state.
Lunzman was the Jays' No. 2 at singles for the entirety of the 2021 season. Lunzman went 1-5 last season at singles and 3-3 with Orr in doubles during the regular season. The team went 2-1 at the 2021 WDA tournament in order to punch their ticket to the state tourney.
With Orr graduated, Lunzman would be a natural selection for the Jays' No. 1 singles player this fall.
This reality might put him in some challenging situations as he will be facing off against other team's best players, but Ness is fully confident Lunzman can pull it out and make his goal of making it to the 2022 state tournament in October.
"I know Mason is a grinder and by the end of the year, he'll be anxious to play any guys who beat him earlier in the season," Ness said. "He's a strong-minded kid."
Ness acknowledged that Blue Jay tennis will never draw as many people as Bill Nelson and the football team or the volleyball squad does but he added that while it's a sport that doesn't get much attention, he thinks Lunzman and Fronk deserve some attention for that they do for the Buffalo City on the tennis court.
"I think that if you are doing something at a varsity level — playing kids your age from your state and you are excelling — I don't see why any reason you shouldn't be acknowledged for that a little bit," Ness said.
While Lunzman has been playing Blue Jay tennis since he was in seventh grade, Fronk is a bit of a newcomer to the sport but his size and overall athleticism has made him quite effective on the courts.
"A couple of years ago I saw (Max) playing tennis with his dad during the summer so I knew he wanted to play," Ness said. "He's still a little raw but he's got a lot of unflourished talent there that I can see. He's a great kid too."
Fronk capped off his first official season as a fully-fledged varsity tennis player evenly split at 3-3. He assumed the No. 3 spot for most of the 2021 season.
Ness said Lunzman and Fronk will be two of the Jays' top-six this fall.
"They have obviously put in the time with me and a lot of other sports," Ness said. "They are both kind of born athletes. They just keep getting better every time I see them."