PACE LOOKS TOWARD BIG 2010
Pace brings athleticism, right attitude to game
However, baseball 24-7 suits Cody Pace just fine. His love for the sport is only exceeded by his motivation to realize his extraordinary potential.
"I'm involved with the two leagues and some days I play doubleheaders. It's fastpaced and mentally challenging," Pace said, "but I might as well get used to it. That's what I'll face if I want to play baseball in college."
One person who is partly responsible for Pace's hectic summer is his baseball coach during the regular high school season, Glenn Fredricks. The highly successful mentor is also coach of the Spotswood Summer League GMC team and on the staff for the Matrix team. Fredricks has helped develop a number of players who have gone on to college, most recently another Milltown native, Willie Beard, who is a member of the Rutgers pitching staff. Fredricks understands that the way to prepare for college baseball is to expose him to as many situations — in his case, positions — as possible.
"The level of play in these summer leagues is extremely high," said Fredricks, "and a lot of college coaches and scouts come to watch the players. So you try to put them in as many different positions as possible so they can show what they can do. Cody might start at shortstop, move to second and then to third."
Fredricks says that being a member of the select Matrix team enables scouts to observe other intangibles.
"Let's face it," he says. "Each kid is the best on his school team and there's no time for individualism. The kids have to mesh together and play for each other. Cody has excelled in that aspect of the game and don't think scouts aren't taking notice. It's a sign that he'll succeed at the next level."
Pace has done quite well, no matter when and where he has played. While Spotswood's high school season was a disappointment (12-13, which represents the Chargers' first losing campaign in 15 years), Pace was the success his coach and others envisioned. As a junior, he led the team in hitting with 29 hits. As a relief pitcher, Cody did not allow an earned run in seven appearances and was credited with five saves.
Pace comes from an athletically inclined family. His father, Rickey, was a three-star athlete in football, basketball and baseball for St. Pius in Piscataway before the parochial high school closed its doors; he then moved over to Spotswood. His uncle, Ken, is the former Colonia High School basketball coach who led the Patriots to a number of GMC titles.
"As good as Cody is playing baseball," said Fredricks, "he's an even better person. He possesses the attitude, athleticism and other intangibles that separate him from the average player. And that is what is going to make him a successful college player."
The expectation is that Pace will land at a Division I or II college once he completes his senior year. Thus far, he has heard from St. Peter's (Jersey City), Bryant College in Massachusetts, and most NJAC schools. Rutgers is also sending him letters.
So where will Pace, who owns a 3. grade point average in high school, wind up?
"I'd like to go to school that's somewhat close to home," he says, "and I'd prefer it not to be too big. Does that mean my college choice will be based on whether or not I receive a scholarship? Actually, no."
"Cody has the right attitude as far as where he is going to take his ability," Fredricks said. "We've taught kids that choosing the right college isn't necessarily where they are going to get the opportunity to play baseball on scholarship. Honestly, a baseball career can end with one injury. Hopefully, the school you end up going is where you feel most comfortable."
While Pace decides where he will attend college, he is looking forward to his senior year, not only because it will be his last opportunity to play baseball for his high school. Cody was a member of the outstanding Charger basketball team that finished 21-5, a group looking to continue its winning ways this winter.
"We lost a few guys, but we have Mike (Liming) the Paretti twins (Jim and Tom), and Tyler (Osofosky) back," Pace said. "It should be an exciting season."
However, Pace's senior baseball season will be his showcase year and could ultimately determine where he ends up going to school. Equally important is the opportunity to lead Spotswood back to its position as one of the better teams in the GMC.
"Cody isn't a rah-rah type of leader," Fredricks observed. "But we usually have kids on the roster from all classes, including freshmen. He understands the younger players are looking at how he reacts to any situation. That's leadership by example."
All of which could lead to a college baseball career.