When Jake Fromm entered into the game following Jacob Eason’s injury in the first quarter of the Appalachian State game, Tony Locey was just as nervous as the entire Fromm family.
“I actually was,” Locey said recalling the game. “I was with his whole family, I was standing with his two brothers and we just went nuts when he got in there and threw that first pass and it was completed.”
Locey is one of Georgia baseball’s starting pitchers. Fromm is the starting quarterback for Georgia football. Their friendship goes deeper than Georgia.
Fromm and Locey both attended Houston County High School together where they immediately struck up a friendship.
“I knew he was a leader when I first saw him, and I think I am a leader myself so we just kind of clicked ever since then,” Locey said. “Ever since we met at school we just hung out every day.”
This friendship continued throughout football season and into Fromm’s decision to step away from the game of baseball in the spring of 2016.
As good as Fromm was on the football field, he was arguably just as well rounded in baseball. Growing up, he went to the Little League World Series in 2011 with the Warner Robins team, but continued his growth in baseball into high school as a starting utility player.
Which is why his presence would have been missed out on the field at Houston County when he decided to focus on football instead of playing baseball his junior year.
It took a little convincing from a friend for Fromm to finally decide to come back out to the diamond for one more year.
“I was on him every day,” Locey said. “[I told him], ‘Come out there. Come play with me, it’s my last year.’”
And that was what it took to get Fromm back out on the baseball field, but the decision came with one hitch: both Locey and Fromm played the same position. Locey was a pitcher through and through but when he wasn’t on the mound, third base was his place. But it was also Fromm’s.
And while competition sometimes stirs resentment and jealousy, it never did for the two fast-friends.
“We were never going to be against each other,” Locey said. “We were on the same team no matter what. I was going to make him better and he was going to make me better in every thing we did.”
This meant making each other better off the field too. In fact, even though Locey ended that 2016 season with 120 strikeouts, a 2.04 ERA and the title as the No. 1 pitcher in Georgia by Perfect Game, it was how the two bonded off the field that made a bigger impact in Locey’s life.
It was 4 a.m., as the two future Georgia athletes prepared for an early morning duck hunt when Fromm shared a part of his life with Locey.
“He was the first person that really opened up the Bible to me,” Locey said. “I was spending the night at his house one night because we were going duck hunting at five o’clock in the morning and he wakes me up around four and is like ‘Okay, let’s read.’”
Ever since that moment and their high school days between the chalked lines of the Houston County baseball field and into today as the two don the red and black for Georgia football and baseball, Locey and Fromm continue to hold each other accountable.
“We know each other well enough that we keep each other disciplined,” Locey said. “If I am messing up, he is the person that says, ‘C’mon brother, this isn’t you. This is not what you are supposed to do.’ And I do the same thing with him.”
It’s this brotherhood that brings Locey and Fromm together after long days on the field in their respected sports. According to Locey, the two see each other every day and spend a good amount of time playing Madden together.
And even though Locey posted 37 strikeouts for Georgia baseball this past spring and helped advance the team to the SEC Tournament and Fromm is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, the two are as close as they have ever been with Locey saying he “won’t miss a game” of Fromm’s.
As for what Locey thinks of one of his closest friend’s recent success between the hedges?
“He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met in my life and it’s just paying off for him right now,” Locey said. “He isn’t going to have the best game every game but no matter what, I know that he is going to be the most prepared man on the field.”
And as for who has the better arm? The pitcher or the quarterback?
According to Locey, it’s still him.
“Yeah,” Locey said with a laugh. “I would say I have the better arm.”