Perhaps harder for Freeberger, Connell said, was that he couldn't play baseball at the start of the season.

"Baseball is his main talent; it's what he's good at," she said. "All he did was talk about baseball and look up stats online. He was, like, obsessed with it. He did arm lifts and leg lifts even with his halo on. It's a miracle he's back on the field already and doing so well."

Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe it is just a triumph of Freeberger's will. Freeberger has a noticeably strong upper body, and before his accident, he would also squat-lift 485 pounds. He hasn't done a squat since coming back, but there were no limits put on what he could do with his upper body.


Follow @SunVarsity on Twitter.

The team's strength coach, Rob McBride, asked whether he would be comfortable working out at school with the athletic trainers. Freeberger said yes and cleared it with his doctor.

"They definitely got me back for this season," Freeberger said. "There's no way I'd be back if they hadn't helped me rebuild my muscles."

Trainer Zach Ruble said Freeberger has a "tremendous" work ethic. "He worked harder than any kid I've ever worked with," Ruble said. "He has such a desire to play. It's his drive and determination that has him out here playing as well as he is."

The halo came off March 22, and the next day Freeberger was begging coach Jeff Palumbo to put him into a game.

"He had been in a halo since Jan. 3, and when it came off, he was very stiff," Palumbo said. "I told him I was going to have to oil him up like the Tin Man [in "The Wizard of Oz"]. But he was bugging me to play, and it wasn't long after he was back that we had a close game and I made a mistake. He was bugging me, bugging me so bad, that I put him in as a pinch hitter. He wasn't quite ready. He struck out looking at strikes two and three. But he was back at practice the next day and every day since, and every day, he has given everyone a lift."

That first game was just six days after the halo came off. A week later, he was inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter against Loyola, and he hit three doubles. The next week, he started at first base against John Carroll and went on an 8-for-11 tear, including two three-run homers, and was named The Baltimore Sun's Athlete of the Week. For the season, Freeberger is batting .419 with four home runs, seven doubles, 21 RBIs, 20 runs and 11 walks for the Cavaliers (15-4, 11-3 MIAA A Conference). He has a .860 slugging percentage and a .561 on-base percentage.

His only concession to his injury has been to move from the more physically demanding catcher position to first base.

In the dugout, about to gather his equipment, Freeberger said he has set some lofty goals for the season — he wants his team to win the MIAA championship, and he wants to earn a spot on the All-Metro team.

"Mostly, I want us to be champions," he said. "As for myself, I'm thankful to God every day I'm here. I don't take anything for granted."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

  • Text TERPS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun Terps sports text alerts