The Franklin softball team, a typically overlooked program, is ready to crush it for another season. Franklin’s softball team is actually one of our school’s most successful athletic teams, winning the title of Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) champions multiple years and making it far into the state playoffs. These accomplishments can be attributed to a dedicated coaching staff and experienced players.
Despite the team’s success, students don’t pay much attention to softball compared to other sports. This is likely because the team isn’t around for games that often. Because there was no softball field built on the new campus, varsity games are played at Erv Lind field, making it hard for fans to commute. Unfortunately, in the process of remodeling Franklin, a softball and baseball field were not a priority when it came down to what to build. Everything past the flagpole was left untouched, due to lack of funding towards the campus as a whole. “It’s pretty irritating if I’m going to be honest. We all thought that we were gonna be able to have an actual field at the school rather than Clinton, but then it never happened, and now a lot of our ‘home’ games are at Erv Lind Stadium, so we don’t normally get too many school fans since we’re not close,” said Christina Barrett(12), a four-year varsity player at Franklin. Erv Lind is about a ten minute drive from Franklin, which can be difficult if students can’t find transportation to watch.
The field issue isn’t the only challenge the team had to overcome. The program graduated many players in 2018, and were looking for essentially a whole new team. Luckily, that hasn’t stopped them from succeeding so far. “At first I was really nervous knowing that we had to replace seven people in the line up and I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Barrett. “Now that we’ve all gotten to play some games together and get used to each other, I’m actually really excited to see what the season has in store for us.” The team has gotten together for bonding time and is working to solve any potential problems early on. “During preseason, we work on a lot of bunting drills, and a lot of infield work since our infield is now entirely freshmen, but it really helped during practices and the games to work out some of the kinks,” said Barrett.
The team has already faced tough competition in the preseason. When it comes to league games, Franklin has proven themselves to be a force. They have already beaten Cleveland, Grant, and Wilson. “I’m most excited to play Cleveland and Roosevelt. In softball, Cleveland isn’t really our rival like in other sports… Roosevelt [have] been our biggest competition every year, so I’m pretty excited to play them,” said Barrett. The softball program will play every PIL team between two and four times, making for an impressive schedule of seventeen games, excluding preseason. Barrett has made sure to personally gear herself up for the tough road ahead. “I’ve changed my swing and adjusted the way I view a batter from the outfield,” said Barrett.
Regardless of setbacks, the team is ready to play and have fun no matter how successful the season is. “I’m most excited for the team bonding that’s been happening and senior night. I feel like it’ll be a good one; everyone’s always extremely happy during our softball senior nights. Although it’ll be the end of an era with the other two seniors, Maggie Brauckmiller and Alexia DuBoise, who’ve been by my side since freshman year, it’ll be the beginning of a new one as well,” said Barrett.