Franklin Regional rebounding after slow start
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Franklin Regional baseball team talks often of having the necessary fortitude to respond to adversity.
Recently, proof of the Panthers' resilience is showing on the field.
After beginning section play by dropping four of its first five games, Franklin Regional (8-5, 4-4) had rebounded to win three straight contests and move into a virtual tie for third place in Section 3-AAAA. The top three teams in each section advance to the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
“I think (their resilience) comes from their veteran presence,” Franklin Regional coach Bobby Saddler said. “They knew that four losses wasn't the way we wanted to start the year, but it's not the end of the season. At the time, they could have very easily packed the bags in and left, but it shows their intestinal fortitude (to not give up).
“They didn't want to pack the bags in. They wanted this season. The younger guys are playing for the seniors, and the seniors are playing because they want to be in the playoffs. They want to continue the tradition that other players before them established.”
Saddler said the team entered “playoff mode” after a 7-4 loss to Plum last week dropped the Panthers to 1-4 in section play. Franklin Regional responded by pounding McKeesport, 15-0, in three innings; knocking off Class AAAA No. 1 Baldwin, 15-11; and blanking Gateway, 10-0.
The team's offensive approach improved in those three games, Saddler said. After not reaching double figures in runs at all through 10 games, the Panthers surpassed that mark in each of the past three.
“We knew the offense would come around, and it's coming around at the right time,” Saddler said. “The kids are approaching offense the right way. Their approach is great right now. They continue to be patient, find the right pitch to hit. I like our lineup one through nine.”
Franklin Regional showcased its patient offensive approach in Monday's victory over Gateway, working the count for six walks. The Panthers also took advantage of five Gateway errors and five more wild pitches to score 10 runs on just four hits.
“Early in the count, if they found (a good pitch), they were aggressive,” Saddler said. “If they weren't, they made the pitcher come to them. That's exactly what we preach offensively.”
Though Franklin Regional regained its footing in the section with the three-game winning streak, the Panthers still had work to do to clinch a WPIAL playoff berth for the third straight season. They were scheduled to travel to Central Catholic on Wednesday, past the deadline for this week's edition, and will host second-place Plum at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“You never look past any section game, but those games are special,” Saddler said. “You know what each team brings to the table. Both are our rivals. Normally, games are tight, and momentum swings both ways. If you have a lead, you can't be complacent; if you're down, you have to battle. That's the way most section games are, but those ones come with a little more urgency.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email email@example.com or via Twitter@dgulasy_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.