Last year Franklin just missed the baseball playoffs, which was an overall disappointment for a young and hopeful team. Starting the 2022 season, the Lightning are motivated to make their first playoff run in the last couple of years. Therefore the grass is mowed, the infield raked, and the cleats tied, as Franklin baseball is ready and excited for the start of a new season.
COVID-19 played a major role in last year’s season with social distancing at practice and all players, coaches, and officials mandated to wear masks. But with the basketball season not requiring masks, it is almost certain that this season will share the same expectations. This allows for greater communication on the field, and an overall excitement to the start of a season that hasn’t been felt for the last couple of years.
With only two seniors in starting roles last year, the varsity team was considered very young. Small amounts of senior leadership and multiple minor injuries took the team off course from making the playoffs, but that will all change in the coming months of regular season play, according to starting pitcher/catcher Michael Bernal. “We have a complete team this year, we have all the necessary parts to make it to the playoffs and have a good run,” he states. The only problem that is arising is team chemistry. “We are lacking team chemistry, I think we need to play as one instead of playing our own positions,” Bernal shares. This is true for many teams at the beginning of a season. The work to fix these minor problems starts once official practices commence. The key to this team really is the consistency and completeness. Most players can fill in for any position, which allows for a lot of flexibility in the rotations. If someone is struggling at 3rd base, Coach Andy Berger can move them anywhere on the field to give them a greater chance to succeed, which gives the team as a whole a better chance at winning big games.
To get to the playoffs however, Franklin will have to beat a couple of extremely good teams. The first team is Grant, two time state champions with at least four pitchers throwing over 80 miles per hour, and two players committed to play Division 1 baseball at The University of Portland. Other league rivals include Ida B. Wells and Roosevelt. Franklin will have to win multiple of their matchups against these teams to make it to the playoffs, which is a very difficult task, but players seem very confident, so there are very high hopes and expectations for this season.