By Nick Ruland, nruland@magicvalley.com

RUPERT • Minico’s Danny Freiburger isn’t overpowering on the mound and doesn’t pretend to be.

But at his best, the Times-News Baseball Player of the Year slices and dices opposing lineups with the speed and efficiency of a hibachi chef.

“I try to stay in a rhythm,” Freiburger said. “I know that I’m going to have to pitch to contact more, so hitting my spots is key.”

Freiburger outpitched some of the conference’s best, including Twin Falls’ Chandler Greenfield in a key conference matchup late in the season. But Freiburger was considered to be the best player in the league by most of its coaches not because he was its best pitcher, but because he excelled at the plate and at a premium defensive position, shortstop.

Said Spartans head coach Jared Price: “He’s just such a good all-around athlete and it allows him to do so many things at a high level.”

Freiburger hit over .400 at the plate and was a sure-handed wizard to go along with solid pitching lines.

His leadership mirrored his production, as the junior stepped into the void left by last year’s large outgoing class.

“He just works so hard,” said Tanner Harper, who’s caught most of Freiburger’s games dating back to before middle school. “People overlook that.”

The dedication gave Freiburger the floor, but it was how he conducted himself on stage that helped give the Spartans their mentally tough approach.

“It was a lot different from last year,” Freiburger said. “You have to make sure you carry yourself in a certain way where you don’t let guys see you get rattled or down because of negative things that happen in a game.”

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