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Millburn shortstop Milo Freeman covers second base as he awaits throw from his outfielder as a Seton Hall Prep player prepares to dive into bag during regular-season Super Essex Conference-American Division game this spring. The Millers' junior shortstop decided on Monday to accept a scholarship offer from Rutgers. (Photos by Glenn Kross-visit www.glennkrossphotography.com)
Millburn's Milo Freeman (9) heads home with run as Seton Hall Prep catcher Pat Gardner waits for throw in Millers' 4-3 win at the Prep on April 29th. Millburn won 2013 SEC-American title.
Millburn’s Freeman Makes His Decision
From the start of the recruiting process Millburn’s Milo Freeman has had a good feeling about Rutgers and –most of all- the opportunity to play big-time college baseball for a Northeast university.
“At the end of the day I wanted to represent New Jersey and playing for my state university is something I’ve thought about for a long time,” said the Millers’ standout junior shortstop. “Since Rutgers offered me in the fall I’ve continued to have a real good feeling about the coaches and the program and I had been leaning that way.
“I just felt that now was a good time to make the decision as I try to continue to enjoy the state tournament and the rest of my high school career with Millburn because we have a great baseball program here as well.”
Freeman, a well-built, 6-foot, 180-pound 3-year starting shortstop for the Millers, entered Monday’s North 2, Group 4 state tournament first round game vs. Barringer hitting a solid .400 with 30 hits, 12 of which are of the extra base variety, including four home runs and 29 RBI. He has scored 26 runs, has a on base percentage of .462 and a .707 slugging %.
He has been recruited to play both shortstop and third base, a position he plays on occasion for Farrah Scout, a South Jersey-based summer travel team which is part of the Farrah Builders program coached by Frank Montalvo who is also an associate scout for the Washington Nationals.
Rutgers associate head coach Joe Litterio had been in frequent contact during the recruiting process and Freeman has also enjoyed getting to know legendary Scarlet Knights head man Fred Hill.
“Coach Hill is a longtime coach everyone looks up to and coach Litterio has been great to deal with as well during the entire time I’ve been in contact with Rutgers and visited there last fall,” said the Millburn shortstop who made his commitment on Monday night. “They are great guys and I like what I’ve seen of how the program is run. Plus the fact they will be playing in the Big 10 Conference my freshman year there (in 2014-2015) is a very exciting situation to become a part of moving forward.”
Seton Hall University, St. John’s, Rhode Island and Monmouth had all been in contact with Freeman, who said Rutgers was the only one to have made an offer at this juncture.
“I just felt Rutgers was the right fit, and I also know a bunch of guys who are excellent players who are going to go there this fall, like (catcher) Chris Folinusz of Cranford, (outfielder) Mike Carter of Bloomfield, (outfielder) Tommy Marcinczyk of Middlesex and (first baseman) Jeff Anderson of Delbarton,” continued Freeman. “The talent level is going to continue to be great coming out of New Jersey high schools, which is great to see.”
Freeman said he has been working with his Millburn coaches on improving in a number of aspects of his game, particularly his range at shortstop and simply getting to more balls hit to the left side and up the middle.
“I’ve really concentrated on my defense and I think that extra work is paying off plus it’s great to be part of a real good defensive team that we have with all the guys around me on the team,” he said. “Our coaches really emphasize defense and base running, and I know that has helped us become an even better baseball team over the long haul, and now we’re shooting for a Group 4 state championship.”
Fourth-seeded Millburn, a 6-0 first round winner over Barringer on Monday, will host fifth-seeded North Hunterdon in a North 2, Group 4 state tourney sectional quarterfinal on Friday. The Millers won the North 2, Group 3 title during Freeman’s freshman season as a first-year varsity starter in 2011, which was also head coach Brian Chapman’s first year at the helm.
“I’ve been fortunate to play for great coaches at Millburn, and they make the game fun while still working extremely hard to always try and get better,” said Freeman. “Going to play for coach Hill and coach Litterio at Rutgers will be a continuation of that process of playing for a top program.”
And, when he dons a Rutgers uniform after one more year of high school baseball for the Millers in 2014, Freeman will also be able to play a number of his games before family and friends, something that is important for the junior shortstop looking ahead.
“I wanted to try and be able to play somewhere where my family can come and see me play because they’ve been such a big part of my support system and are always there for me,” said Freeman. “My dad (Patrick) and mom (Mary) are big Millburn baseball fans and get to all my games and now they’ll be able to go to Rutgers to see me play as well.”
Freeman is a very competitive athlete who also enjoys playing as the starting quarterback and safety for the Millers football squad. It’s a sport both his brothers, James, 23, a standout running back-linebacker at both Millburn and Franklin & Marshall, and Danny, 19, who attends James Madison University, played with much success in high school.
“I love football and playing the sport with my friends and for coach (Pat) Leonardis at Millburn,” he said. “I’m pumped up to play again this fall.
“High school sports are fun and I’m enjoying the experience of both sports when I can.”
Millburn head coach Brian Chapman confers with his veteran shortstop Milo Freeman during the 2012 semis of the Greater Newark Tournament vs. Montclair in Verona. (Sideline Chatter photo)
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