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Fearing turns his dream into reality

Osakis’ Drew Fearing smiles for a photo after signing his letter of intent to North Dakota State University. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Osakis’ Drew Fearing has always watched high school athletes signing their letters of intent to play college athletics on TV and knew he wanted that to be him inking his name to a university someday.

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Last Wednesday, it was. Fearing had been in contact with a handful of schools who wanted him to play baseball for their programs, but he made it official with North Dakota State University on the first day of the early signing period as he accepted a partial scholarship offer to play for the Bison starting next fall.

“We’ve been talking since the start of fall basically,” Fearing said. “It was actually two weeks ago they offered…it was incredible. It’s just kind of a reminder on how dreams can come true, I guess. It was one of my dreams to do this. I can’t really even find a lot of words to describe it.”

Osakis head coach Shad Schmidt said he knows of no other players from the Silverstreaks’ program that have signed a Division I scholarship to play baseball.

“Drew is very deserving of this,” Schmidt said. “He has put a lot of time and effort into baseball and had to make some tough decisions because of it. I think it’s great that he has now been rewarded for all of that. As coaches, we could tell back in 8th grade Drew was going to be a special ball player and he has not let us down so far.”

Fearing was part of a special team at Osakis this past spring and is now part of a group of guys from that team who are or will play college baseball at varying levels. Doug Zimmel is at the University of Minnesota-Morris right now and Schmidt said he expects him to start right away as a freshman. Ky Zimmel is on the baseball team at Ridgewater College this season as a pitcher and an outfielder.

Jordan Frederick, a senior pitcher with Osakis this school year, will be going to Scottsdale Community College in Arizona next year and senior second baseman Lane Berberich is also getting some looks from different schools such as Ridgewater and Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.

Fearing, like a lot of guys on this team last spring, had a great season at the plate in 2013. He was second on the team in batting behind only Doug Zimmel with an average of .473 in 74 at-bats. He scored 31 runs, had eight doubles, four triples, a home run, 35 RBIs and 18 stolen bases, while anchoring the middle of the infield on defense.

“I think the biggest adjustment will be the college life and the rigors of being a DI athlete,” Schmidt said. “I am not concerned that he won’t adjust. I just think there is always a learning curve and adjustment period with managing time and staying on top of everything. I think he is ready as long as he keeps his goals in sight and continues to work hard and improve his game. The sky’s the limit for Drew.”

Fearing has played in plenty of showcases against other top players after playing for the Minnesota Blizzard Baseball Academy based out of Vadnais Heights. His preference is to stay at shortstop at the collegiate level, but he’s willing to do anything to get on the field as soon as possible.

“They want me to play right away,” Fearing said when asked of a possible redshirt. “They think I can play short for them. They have a shortstop right now, but they think I’m better, and they think he can move to second base. It’s looking bright for playing right away, and they said since I can hit so well that if short doesn’t end up working, he could see me moving to the outfield just so I’m in the lineup.”

Fearing chose NDSU over a handful of other partial offers from schools like the University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University, Augustana College and Angelo State University, a Division II team in Texas. The chance to play Division I in the Summit League for a program so close to home was ultimately too good to pass up.

“It’s incredible,” Fearing said. “Just all the work you do in the weight room and on the field – fielding ground balls, taking BP, working hard every day. I don’t think a kid from Osakis has gotten a scholarship to play Division I baseball anywhere before, so it was kind of a [lofty] goal I had. Every dream is possible if you put your mind to it.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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