Crown Point graduate Jake DeFries ‘stealing’ the limelight at Georgia Gwinnett

Brian Waddle – NWITIMES

It’s a good thing they don’t hand out tickets on the basepaths.

Jake DeFries doesn’t stop — he’s a green-light-only type of guy.

“Even at Crown Point I was always looking to run and steal bases,” the Georgia Gwinnett star infielder said. “Once I get on, if there’s an opportunity, I’m going.”

DeFries has 86 stolen bases over the last two seasons for Georgia Gwinnett, the defending NAIA National Champion. He became just the second player in program history to record 50 or more stolen bases in a season and just set the program’s single-season stolen base record with 58.

He’s No. 2 all-time in school history in total swipes.

DeFries, a junior, started 35 of 37 games last season before a couple of injuries sidelined him. He hit .439 last season with 50 hits, 50 runs and 35 RBIs. He was named the 2021 Association of Independent Institutions Newcomer of the Year. Additionally, DeFries just earned All-Continental Athletic Conference First Team honors for a second straight season.

The Grizzlies (46-16) were eliminated on Monday at the Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

DeFries was 2-for-5 in the 11-5 loss to Webber (Fla.) International in the team’s elimination game.

DeFries finished the season with a .321 average, 71 hits, 47 RBIs, 16 doubles, and 61 runs.

It’s been quite a ride for the former Bulldogs star. DeFries has battled three injuries during his college career — a torn labrum, torn hamstring, and broken thumb — to battle back to start for one of the best NAIA programs in the country. He started out at Indiana Tech before leaving for greener pastures at Georgia Gwinnett.

“To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of offers out of high school,” DeFries said. “Indiana Tech was my best option and a great school, but I wanted to go to a higher level.”

DeFries actually hit .367 as a freshman at Indiana Tech with 43 RBI and 14 doubles and led the team to the 2019 Avista NAIA World Series. After his move to GG, he’s now been a part of three straight trips to the World Series.

“My whole life has been about baseball,” DeFries said. “I did basketball for a while, but the baseball bug was always there and always what I wanted to do.

“I’ve always wanted to be successful in it and go as far as I can. I’ve definitely had some setbacks, but I just keep grinding.”


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