Friends Find Extra Motivation by Comparing Statistics Koeneman, Friziellie Enjoy Big Years

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Byline: Marty Maciaszek Daily Herald Sports Writer

A glance at Kevin Koeneman and Shaun Friziellie doesn't exactly conjure up visions of Prospect's "Bash Brothers."

Friziellie, a muscular 6-foot-2, 185-pound red-head, certainly fits the role. The senior designated hitter was jokingly referred to by a scout as sort of a slightly smaller model of Mark McGwire.

But Koeneman doesn't resemble anything close to Jose Canseco - McGwire's former power counterpart in Oakland.

The 5-10, 165-pound junior shortstop resembles, well, a singles-hitting middle infielder. But Koeneman has a different power source.

"He's got the quickest bat," Friziellie said.

The two of them have shown the ability to inflict some severe damage in a hurry. And No. 3 hitter Koeneman and cleanup man Friziellie are leaving their marks on the Prospect record book.

The good friends admit they're motivated by what the other does for the Knights, who were 19-13 going into Thursday's regional opener with Hersey.

"Every game we compare stats," Koeneman said with a smile. "I usually win."

But not always. Right, Shaun?

"One time I was on base and I had 4 hits," Friziellie countered with a grin. "He only had one or two.

"I was on second base and he looks at me. I put four up like this (four fingers near his chest) and we started laughing.

"It's a friendly competition. We root for each other."

Area pitchers wish they would wage their battles somewhere else.

They're paying the price as Friziellie (.486) and Koeneman (.478) are in range of the Prospect single-season hitting mark of .488 by Do Kim in 1988.

In hits, Koeneman (53) and Friziellie (51) have broken the school mark of 47. In RBI, Friziellie (41) and Koeneman (40) are approaching the school-record 45 set last year by Jason Pullano.

They have 5 homers apiece, putting them within one of the mark by Vine Edward in 1996 and Joe O'Brien in 1983.

The Knights - who also have catcher Bob Volz with 5 homers - are just two shy of the team-record 26 in 1982.

Not bad production for a pair of guys who combined to hit .298 with 2 homers, 4 extra-base hits and 12 RBI last year.

"Confidence is the biggest thing," Friziellie said.

"I had no confidence last year," Koeneman said. "I was a sophomore on the varsity team and I didn't know what I was doing."

Koeneman did hit .333 despite missing 9 games with a hamstring injury. But the multi-talented athlete who also plays football and basketball came back with a strong summer in American Legion. …