Rough on the diamonds
Both Franklin girls softball and boys baseball had rough outings today. Both will enter the state playoffs as the district runner up. The girls lost to Villa Maria 5-3 while the boys dropped the title game to Fairview 6-4. Both squads gave valiant efforts in comeback bids in the final inning but fell short.
Though the goal is always to hoist the district trophy overhead, both teams will still be practicing all week in preparation of resuming action June 6.
Both teams are still very solid squads capable of lighting it up at any point in time. Both teams got base runners Monday, lots of them in fact they just didn't quite get that one more hit to score them. Both teams showed tenacity in the final inning to be in a position to tie or come back to win but were shutdown by talented teams who also came to win
Sometimes, as fans of the kids we know, we forget that the other team has family and fantail hoping for the same things for their kids. We develop this "us against them" attitude that we sometimes over look the bigger baseball and softball family.
And both squads move on in the state playoffs and will face more 'family' members all vying for a state title.
On paper they have a more difficult path having lost the D10 championship, but these games are not played on paper. All they need to do is string together a couple dozen or so more good innings and they'll be vying for a state title.
I confess, I didn't pay attention to the PIAA rules that said a transfer student can play all year long for you, but when the most important games come around they have to sit it out. I get that there are rules, but it seems if a kid plays a certain number of games they should be able to play throughout.
Rocky Grove got where they are because they were a team and that team consisted of one of the top pitchers in all of Northwest Pennsylvania. But in the playoffs Eli Moreland had to be a support teammate in in street clothes.
This may or may not have made a difference. Rocky Grove put Isaac Clayton on the mound who is no slouch on the mound and he pitched well. But Kennedy Catholic got a chance to play a Rocky Grove team that wasn't the same Rocky Grove team that went 14-2 in the region. Rules are rules.
This is an extremely good baseball team that ran up against another good baseball team that just seemed to have the one more punch today.
The rematch of last year's district 10 championship had Kennedy again coming out on top, this time in an extra inning walk off single to win 6-5.
Coach Geoff Sanner's team sure was fun to watch this season. Their bats were usually quite good all the way through the lineup and their pitching staff was solid. Whether it mattered or not on Friday, not having one of the top pitchers, who also played the field and batted well, couldn't have helped.
After the contest coach Sanner posted a team photo with these words. "Thanks to each and everyone of you. You made this season special and a really fun one to be a part of. I'm happy to know I'll always be your coach, Heck of a season boys."
Good season guys.
Franklin softball took another step towards their bid to repeat as district champions Thursday afternoon by quieting the bats of a hard hitting Conneaut Area squad and letting their own bats do the talking. And they showed some tenacity and ability to counter punch.
Conneaut controlled the Knights other than a solo home run-in the bottom of the fourth by pitcher Trinity Edge. CASH then took a two to one lead in the sixth and Franklin began to look a bit tired. Championships are made by teams that face this and overcome it. And girl, did they overcome it.
They erupted in the bottom of the sixth for nine runs turning the tables and shifting that feeling of tired over to their opponent.
The Knights were pretty solid on defense with the infield turning three double plays behind another dominant pitching effort by Edge.
Other than the sixth inning it was a pitcher's duel and solid fielding by both squads.
Franklin now returns to the title game to face Villa Maria who they defeated last year in the District 10 title game. Last year Edge and crew shut out the Vicors.
According to the Erie Times, Franklin softball is the only District 10 champ from 2021 that is playing for the title again in 2022.
They will play Monday at 10 a.m. at Penn State Behrend.
See more photos at https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p203780772
Digging in for the win
When a pitcher strikes out 15 batters in six innings it is usually a sign the individual would be heralded the player of the game. Or maybe the batter who drove in the game-winning run would get that honor.
But in Thursday afternoon's District 10 semi-final baseball contest, the player of the game was the sophomore who pitched only one inning. He got himself into a bit of a jam walking batters and loading the bases in the top of the seventh. That is when Zach Boland dug his heels in and got out of the inning without giving up a run. This was such a huge moment for the whole team.
Boland's grit to stay focused kept Hickory from running up the score and allowed Franklin a chance to end it in regulation.
In the bottom half of the frame, the Knights dug a little deeper and got a runner into scoring position when Aiden McCracken stepped up to the plate. The lefty connected for a base hit scoring Caleb Doyle from second base.
And just like that, the Knights defeated top seed Hornets 6-5 to advance to the title game.
Boland finding the ability to dig deep despite being in a position where most would be rattled is nothing short of impressive. Without this effort, the Knights might not be headed back to Slippery Rock University at 4:30 Monday to play Fairview for the District 10 3A championship.
Almost duplicating exactly what the boys baseball team did the day before, the Franklin girls got the bat on the ball solid and often cruising to a 12-2 five inning victory over Grove City.
They will face Conneaut who jump over Hickory with a big early inning to set the tone. They will play Thursday at a time and location to be determined.
Explosive bats save arms
Franklin's ace Luke Guth was cruising along with efficiency through three innings. The junior only threw 35 pitches when Franklin head coach Brian Schmidt's decided that was enough.
Looking at the scoreboard it became evident, Schmidt was looking at the big picture. Keeping his ace's pitch count low means he'll be fresh and able to go in the next game of the playoffs.
Ethan Nightingale stepped to pitch the rest of the way and despite one pitch that was sent over the fence in left center, he got the job done. The Knights bats lit up intheir first playoff game defeating North East 12-2 in five innings.
The Franklin will meet Hickory in the PIAA 3A semifinal matchup at 4 p.m. Thursday at Slippery Rock University.
The Knights (13-6) came into the tournament as the fifth seed. They now take on the top-seeded Hornets (15-2) who beat Girard on Monday.
The winner of Thursday’s showdown will play in the District 10 championship game on Memorial Day at a time and place to be determined.
In 1A, Rocky Grove (15-3) got a buy into the semis and await the Cochranton (9-7) vs. Kennedy Catholic (6-13)., winner Wednesday The time and location of the semi-final Friday have not been announced.
See more photos by visiting: https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p814649742
District 10 Softball
District 10 Baseball
Franklin will face Northeast Monday at Mercyhurst University at 2 p.m. Franklin comes in as fifth seed in Class AAA. On the other side of the bracket Titusville, the number two seed, plays the 11:30 a.m. game at Mercyhurst University against Mercyhurst Prep.
Meadville plays Tuesday at 4 p.m. down in Slippery Rock University against Grove City. The Bulldogs are the fifth seed in Class AAAA
To see all the D10 brackets follow the link below.
These are two very solid baseball teams. Rocky Grove needed to win today to be region champion. They threw their top pitcher, but Saegertown got their bat on the ball and just out hit the Orioles.
The Panther win puts them in the drivers seat. They have one game left against Youngsville which they are expected to win easily.
All in all a very solid season for the Orioles only dropping two region games, one to the Cochranton Cardinals and one to what looks like the region champ Saegertown Panthers. They also defeated both those squads once this year as well. It has been a very good season for the Orioles.
On to the post season.
Below are more photos from Tuesday's game. Even more photos can be found by clicking here.
Click ads to make bigger
For a very comprehensive look ate Venango Sports visit our friend's website
Route 8 Rivalry is a website dedicated the long history of the Oil City and Franklin football rivalry by former sports editor Penny Weichel. It is an amazing labor of love and valuable resource for history. It is our go-to here at 8and322.com.