Athlete of The Month: Riley Frisbie
One of our writers, John Hayes, came up with the idea to highlight a local athlete monthly to build interest and viewership in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. When he pitched the idea, I knew immediately that we needed to see if Riley Frisbie was interested. For those of you who don’t know her or are unaware of her athletic career, continue to read on! But seriously, she is a few years younger than I am and went to my elementary school (s/o St. Cletus) so I have been able to follow her athletic career and it has been nothing short of spectacular. Throw in the fact that she is one of the most grateful and humble people I have known and you’ve got a winning combination.
Frisbie has excelled at every level she has played at including a Little League State Championship for La Grange in 2010. She played Varsity softball at LT as a sophomore and (according to MaxPreps) played in 83 games hitting .310 over her career. Her senior season she hit a whopping .375 with 4 homers and 16 RBI.
Below is the interview I had with Riley, in an effort to look/act like a Big J Journalist I highlighted the question and answer portion of the interview, enjoy!
B-Frank: Let’s start you off with some basic questions, what is your favorite sport to play?
B-Frank: What is your favorite sport(s) to watch?
Riley: Baseball and Hockey
B-Frank: Who is your favorite athlete(s)?
Riley: Derek Jeter and Duncan Kieth
B-Frank: Who are you favorite sports teams?
Riley: New York Yankees and Chicago Blackhawks
B-Frank: What was it like being the first female to play baseball for LT and what was your experience like in general on that team?
Riley: Playing for LT had its ups and downs just as it does for any team. I loved being able to continue the line of Frisbie’s that played there following my dad (Sean Frisbie), my uncle (Jason Frisbie) and my brother (Shane Frisbie). The newspapers kind of made a huge deal out of it and in some ways it made me uncomfortable. I don’t mind talking to reporters and what not, but from my perspective I was just continuing to play the game that I’ve always loved to play. I wanted to be seen as an athlete competing, not a girl playing on a boys baseball team. I learned a lot about the game of baseball through the coaches at LT and I had a great time getting to play with the guys that I’ve always been on a field with. I was on the “B team” and got to Pitch, Catch and play 1B pretty often. Unfortunately, from my perspective, I don’t think I was given the chances that I thought I deserved. I did have an injury that set me back a little, but I worked hard at every practice and was playing very well but was on the [B] team the entire year, besides the last game where I got to catch during the final freshman “A game”. Once sophomore summer league came around I was starting to think about the transition to softball because of playing time. Everyone played every game for summer league until playoffs. I didn’t touch the field once and I’d be fine with that if I wasn’t playing well. Obviously, the goal was to win and if I wasn’t benefiting the team by being on the field then I wouldn’t want to be [on the field], but I thought I really could have contributed. Yes, baseball will always be my first love, but I would rather play every game for softball than sit on the bench and say I played on the baseball team. I loved playing for the LT Baseball team overall, but I simply wasn’t given the chance I thought I deserved.
B-Frank: Where will you be attending college and will you be playing any sports?
Riley: I am currently attending Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. I will be playing softball in the spring.
B-Frank: Why did you choose Lake Forest College?
Riley: One of the main reasons I chose Lake Forest was because my coach, Joe Kinsella, was 100% on board with me trying out for USA Baseball. A lot of the coaches from other schools I was talking to didn’t believe that baseball and softball transferred over to each other. They only wanted me playing softball. I also fell in love with the campus more and more every time I visited.
YABO!!!! (Note: Fences are not allowed in off-season scrimmages, but this was an absolute bomb)
B-Frank: You have participated with the Women’s National Baseball Team, can you tell me what that experience was like and what you can take away from it?
Riley: I haven’t actually been on the Women’s National Team (Jimbo on B-Frank). In 2015, I made it to the Trials for the Pan-Am Games and in 2016 I made it to the Final Trials for the Women’s World Cup. Unfortunately, [I] wasn’t a piece of the puzzle that they needed. Making it to these trials is an amazing thing. USA baseball goes all out for everything. They have the best coaches and the best facilities. I’m constantly learning while I’m there and hopefully I can take what I’ve learned and come back better next year.
B-Frank: What would you consider the strongest part of your game?
Riley: I would consider pitching the best part of my game. There’s really no other feeling like being on the mound. I’ve really improved a lot in the past two years as a pitcher. All of my pitches have improved along with my speed and I’m more disciplined.
B-Frank: With baseball and softball both being added to the Olympics in 2020, is working towards either of those teams on your radar?
Riley: I would 100% focus on baseball. Baseball has always been my first love. As I said earlier, I’m a pitcher for baseball and there’s no better feeling than being on the mound during a game. It would be a dream come true to represent the US by playing the sport I love in the Olympics. Unfortunately, Women’s baseball wasn’t chosen for the 2020 Olympics in Japan but hopefully it will be there in 2024.
B-Frank: How does it feel to be a better baseball player than your brother, Shane?
Riley: This is a great question and it’s a great feeling haha. I’ve gotten this question jokingly, and sometimes not jokingly, pretty often. It’s fun to hear and joke about, but I wouldn’t be the player I am today without my brother. Shane is one of the main reasons I ever started playing baseball. I was always the bat girl for his travel team, I looked up to him and wanted to be just like him, I still do in fact. He showed me the ropes. I might be a better baseball player but only because he’s helped me get here. Shane, and his friends, are always helpful. During the summer, he was always willing to go in the street to make sure I got my long toss in, even with his busy work schedule. He’d take the time out of his day to go and hit me grounders and pop ups at a field. So, even though he doesn’t play anymore he’s trying to help me fulfill my dreams as a ball-player and I couldn’t be more thankful.