All-American WildcatPublished 12:03am Friday, January 3, 2014
FHS sophomore to compete in prestigious baseball tourney
Florala sophomore Austin Franklin will be playing with the top 400 high school baseball players later this month in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
The tournament will run from Jan. 17-20, at the Kino Sports Complex, and is powered by Baseball Factory, an organization that follows the careers of high school baseball players, inviting them to be a part of its program.
Franklin, who was selected by Baseball Factory’s scouting staff as a preseason All-American, said it’s a “huge honor” for him participate in the all wood bat tournament.
“Coming from a small town and being able to go and compete on a scale of that magnitude with some of the best players in the country — it’s a great honor,” Franklin said. “I’m completely honored and thankful for the opportunity to go out there.”
Franklin said anybody can be nominated for the tournament.
“With the organization that puts this event on, you have an opportunity to be invited to come tryout,” he said. “It all started when I attended a tryout last February. If you’re good enough, they’ll invite you to compete in one of their national events.”
And, that’s just what happened for Franklin. He competed in the Baseball USA 17U Nationals and played on the Baseball Factory’s team.
Franklin said it’s going to be different playing in this tournament compared to playing high school ball.
“As far as the talent out there, I believe they put the top 400 players in the nation out there, so you won’t see any small ball players,” he said. “It’ll be the best players in the nation, and you can expect to compete all three days that you’re there.”
All players at the tournament will play each other over the course of the three days.
Fortunately for Franklin, the sophomore has hit with a wood bat before.
“It’s definitely something different,” Franklin said.
When asked why he thinks scouts chose him to compete in this tournament, Franklin said more than likely they saw his “potential.”
“As of right now, I’m still growing and everything,” he said. “My numbers are starting to shoot up. I think this shows the potential in me, as well as my present skill.”
Past preseason All-Americans have included David Wright of the New York Mets, Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals and BJ Upton of the Atlanta Braves.
Franklin is the son of Mark Franklin and Lisa Jackson of Florala.