FREDERICK -- Jaron Balman is a great athlete, and every coach who knows him wants the Frederick senior on his team. At his core, though, Balman is a baseball player.

For anyone with immense potential on the diamond, baseball is an easy choice. But few baseball players are also quarterback of the football team and a state-caliber wrestler.

That's Balman. His problem is that he loves them all.

Wishing he could do everything, Balman watched several good friends make difficult decisions to forgo enjoyment in other sports for a focus on what they could likely continue doing after high school. After an internal struggle, he decided to pass on his senior wrestling season to center his attention on baseball, which he will play at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling next season.

"It's been hard to play without my buddies KC and Lucas," Balman said. "But they made their sacrifices just like I did. I focused on baseball over wrestling season. I didn't want to risk getting hurt. I just hit with my summer coach Colt Sedbrook (Longmont Twins) and I just focused on my swing. It was tough not doing it but I had to make the sacrifice."

Fellow 2013 graduates KC Rivera, a dominant middle linebacker bound for Pima Community College in Arizona, and Lucas Adams, a game-changing point guard headed to Western State College in Gunnison, gave up prep baseball to focus on their college-potential sports after their sophomore seasons.


Balman made a similarly difficult decision with wrestling, where he went 24-6 as a junior, including 1-2 at the state tournament. It is still too early to tell whether or not it had the desired effect. But Balman's senior campaign is shaping up to be his best to date with the Warriors.

Making more frequent, harder contact, Balman leads the Warriors with a .500 (19 for 38) batting average, 15 RBIs, 5 doubles, 3 home runs and a triple in 11 games. He boasts a .921 slugging percentage and has struck out just four times.

Statistically, he is impressive. As he's learned to mute outside influences and focus internally, Balman has come to understand that stats are a representation of good play.

"I like my stats, but I really haven't checked them," Balman said. "Not looking at them has made me focus more on the basics. Each season I was checking them, checking them. I figured out that if I didn't check them, it would help me more not having to worry about it."

Stats or no stats, Balman does many things for the Warriors. He's stepped up wherever they've put him.

Starting the season behind the dish, where the Warriors needed his leadership and knowledge, Balman strained his knee rounding second base during the Warriors' third game of the season in La Junta and hasn't played catcher since. He's played outfield and both corner infield spots and leads the Warriors with 171/3 innings pitched on the mound.

"He's got a strong arm and he's just a great athlete," Clapp said. "He knows the game and he's capable of playing any position on the field, which is what you want out of an athlete. He's shown that when he goes up to college he's got the ability to function as a pitcher, an outfielder, an infielder and as a catcher. That's opened some doors that we didn't initially realize we had with him, and that I believe colleges didn't realize they had with him going in."

Clapp said Balman has learned that without swinging his hardest he can make good things happen. With his strength, he needs only to square up the ball and some of them will leave the park. Teams that know him learned this long ago.

"Teams flat-out throw around him. They've been doing it for a couple years now," Clapp said. "They will not throw him a pitch to hit and if they do it was an accident."

Of his four years with the Warriors, Balman said the 2013 team could be the most talented. Off to a rough 4-7 start, however, both he and Clapp agreed they've yet to put everything together with eight games left.

After that, Balman will join Coach Sedbrook and the Longmont Twins for the summer season.

While he was at the University of Arizona and with the St. Louis Cardinals minor league organization, Sedbrook worked out at Rocky Mountain Hit Club. There, he met a 12-year-old Balman and the pair's relationship grew throughout their time together with the Twins.

As Balman emerged as one of the top players in the state, Sedbrook encouraged him to evaluate what he wanted in life and make his own decisions on how he would define himself and his identity.

"I told him to look at the opportunities and his priorities," said Sedbrook, also an assistant coach at Skyline High School and a former Broomfield High star. "I think he's done a great job of going out and doing those smaller things to go out and get that scholarship. I think he saw baseball in his future and I think that choice was about him looking at baseball as a part of the next four or five years of his life."

Balman's identity is more than the sum of the sports he plays. But in that realm, he identifies as a baseball player. He's made the sacrifices to prove it.

Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi