Taking control

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 6, 2014

0607 spt-Austin Franklin 3

Florala sophomore Austin Franklin struck out 135 batters this season and allowed just over two runs per game. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Austin Franklin likes being in control.

The Florala sophomore was in control of his command so much this season that he earned himself a spot as a first-team pitcher on the 2014 Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 1A All-State baseball team.

“First of all, it’s pretty exciting to be recognized by a group of people who are all across the state, especially out of all of the players in the state,” Franklin said. “To get this means a lot. I’m just thankful and happy and excited to receive an award like this.”

Franklin finished the season with a 6-2 record on the mound. He struck out 135 batters (average of 20.5 per seven innings) and allowed 17 earned runs out of 19 total. He walked 31 batters and pitched three shutouts.

Franklin’s earned run average was 2.59 and whip count was a whopping 1.17.

When asked what his keys were this season, Franklin said they revolved around throwing good pitches.

“On the mound, I just worry about throwing strikes and letting my defense work,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m thankful to have a group of guys behind me like they were because they basically did all of the work.

“I’m proud to say that those guys were behind me,” he said.

Usually when a pitcher is having a good season, he or she tends to get in a groove and the sky would be the roof from that point onward.

For Franklin, getting off to a good start this season was the big difference with him establishing a strong presence on the mound.

“I had a great first start and that really set the tone for the rest of the season,” he said. “I just worked off every start, getting better and trying to help my team win.”

Piling up a high strikeout count wasn’t easy, he said.

Those who have seen the sophomore throw probably noticed that he uses his velocity to his advantage.

“I try to work the corners and that’s something that I definitely try to do,” Franklin said of his pitching. “There comes a point where speed doesn’t matter, and it’s your job to locate pitches and let your defense work.”

The most runs Franklin gave up this season was in the Wildcats’ first-round playoff loss to Brantley. He gave up six of the Bulldogs’ seven runs.

Franklin said he knew that he’d have to locate well against BHS.

“Going into Brantley, I knew they were a good-hitting team,” he said. “I knew that I’d have to locate and that my defense would have to help me out. I Just focused on throwing strikes and everything. They’re a good team. So, you have to give credit to them.”

Franklin started playing baseball at around 5 or 6 years old. He grew up in Florala, but played in the Paxton Dixie Youth League across the state line in Florida.

“It’s become something that I really love,” he said about playing baseball. “Especially for me being a pitcher, you put in input on every play, and you control every pitch. It’s your game.

“You control everything that happens on that play,” he said. “It’s something that I like to have in my hands. It’s up to me and I just go from there.”

Only a sophomore, Franklin said he’s received letters from Alabama, Florida State, Ole Miss, Miami and Stanford, and that he’s been in phone contact with UA and FSU.

Franklin is the son of Lisa Franklin Jackson and Mark Franklin of Florala.

Honorable mentions: Justin Scherzinger at pitcher for Andalusia; Brandon Smith at third base for Andalusia on the Class 4A team; and Ethan Davis at pitcher for Opp; and Eli Johnson at utility for Opp on the Class 3A team.

2014 ASWA Baseball All-State Team

Class 6A

P – Brax Garrett, Foley, So.

P – Braden Olive, Northview, Sr.

P – Jake Walters, Thompson, Sr.

P – Mason Duke, Spain Park, Jr.

C – Hayden White, Prattville, Sr.

1B – Matthew Christian, Opelika, Jr.

2B – Lee Clark, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Sr.

3B – Kyle Wright, Buckhorn, Sr.

SS – Matt Sanders, Bob Jones, Sr.

OF – Keith Holcombe, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Sr.

OF – Jamal Howard, Central-Phenix City, Sr.

OF – Sam Finnerty, Pelham, Jr.

DH – Austin Haight, Spain Park, Sr.

DH – Tanner Burns, Decatur, Fr.

UTL – Whitt Davis, Huntsville, Jr.

UTL – Will Sipes, Sparkman, Jr.

Pitcher of the Year: Jake Walters, Thompson

Hitter of the Year: Sam Finnerty, Pelham

Player of the Year: Sam Finnerty, Pelham

Coach of the Year: Will Smith, Spain Park

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Kyle Stuart, Northridge, Jr.; Brock Anderson, Sparkman, So.; Blake Rivera, Smiths Station, So.

Catcher: Jarod Howell, Sparkman, Fr.; Hunter Stovall , Pelham, Jr.

First base: Chance Willard, Hazel Green, Sr.

Second base: Drew Odum, Mountain Brook, Jr.; Grey Norton, Smiths Station, Jr.

Third base: Caleb Lynn, Smiths Station, Jr.; Brendan Donovan, Enterprise, Jr.; Josh Flowers, Lee-Montgomery, Sr.

Shortstop: Carter Pharis, Hewitt-Trussville, Jr.

Outfield: AC Dantonio, Sparkman, Sr.; Drew Avans, Thompson, Sr.

Designated hitter: Cole Chiselko, Hoover, Sr.; Brad Norman, Auburn, Jr.

Utility: Jay Jordan, Dothan, Jr.; Austin Williams, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Sr.

Class 5A

P – Jesse McCord, Spanish Fort, Sr.

P – Auston Neal, Cullman, Sr.

P – Drew Mullinax, Southside-Gadsden, Sr.

P – Zac Rogers, Benjamin Russell, Sr.

C – Brian Lane, Spanish Fort, Sr.

1B – Lance Cleveland, Cullman, Sr.

2B – Colton Thomas, Marbury, Sr.

3B – Tyler Oates, Demopolis, Sr.

SS – Jared Nixon, Marbury, Jr.

OF – Malik Rosier, Faith Academy, Sr.

OF – Jordan Brown, Rehobeth, Sr.

OF – Owen Lovell, Cullman, Fr.

DH – Brett Blackwood, Hartselle, Sr.

DH – Ben Rhodes, East Limestone, Sr.

UTL – Ethan Simmons, Briarwood Christian, Sr.

UTL – Will Luft, Spanish Fort, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Jesse McCord, Spanish Fort

Hitter of the Year: Owen Lovell, Cullman

Player of the Year: Jesse McCord, Spanish Fort

Coach of the Year: Matt Ream, Rehobeth

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Tristan Davis, Pleasant Grove, Sr.; Seth Arroyo, Rehobeth, Sr.

Catcher: Matt West, Southside-Gadsden, Sr.; Josh McDaniel, Brookwood, Sr.

First base: Raequan Kelley, Eufaula, Sr.

Second base: Caleb Ledbetter, Etowah, Sr.

Third base: Brooks Wade, Walker, Sr.

Shortstop: Strauss Outlaw, Carroll, Jr.; Alan Smith, Fort Payne, Jr.

Outfield: Rob Perteet, Spanish Fort, Sr.; Blake Devine, Southside-Gadsden, Sr.

Designated hitter: Brett Powers, Carroll, Sr.

Utility: Wes Crawford , Mortimer Jordan, Sr.; KeWayne McCray, Brookwood, Sr.

Class 4A

P – Cody Reed, Ardmore, Sr.

P – Jonah Todd, Oak Grove, Sr.

P – John Michael Stephens, Charles Henderson, Sr.

P – Garrett Deloney, Alabama Christian, Sr.

C – Chase Smartt, Charles Henderson, Jr.

1B – Austin Ingram, Charles Henderson, Jr.

2B – Hunter Musso, Oneonta, Sr.

3B – Brady Bedingfield, Brooks, Sr.

SS – Dalton Cobb, Alexandria, Jr.

OF – John Johnson, Charles Henderson, Sr.

OF – Chandler Taylor, Alabama Christian, Jr.

OF – Luke Wall, Oneonta, Jr.

DH – Riley Phillips, Brooks, Jr.

DH – Troy Dixon, UMS-Wright, Jr.

UTL – Nathan Langley, Beauregard, Sr.

UTL – Clayton Daniel, Guntersville, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Cody Reed, Ardmore

Hitter of the Year: Chase Smartt, Charles Henderson

Player of the Year: Cody Reed, Ardmore

Coach of the Year: Andrew Smith, Ardmore

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Justin Scherzinger, Andalusia, Sr.; Justin Whitley, Alexandria, Jr.; Hunter Hood, Haleyville, Sr.; Blake O’Bryant, Oneonta, Sr.

Catcher: Jacob Twilley, Dora, Sr.

First base: A.J. Wilder, Guntersville, Sr.

Second base: Grant Barber, UMS-Wright, So.; Zach Lightsey, Childersburg, Jr.

Third base: Brandon Smith, Andalusia, Sr.

Shortstop: Ko Powell, Oneonta, So.

Outfield: TJ Lockett, Bibb County, Sr.

Designated hitter: Hunter Baggett, Charles Henderson, Sr.; Peyton Logan, Childersburg, Sr.

Utility: Parker Moman, Ashford, Sr.

Class 3A

P – Taylor Hayes, Piedmont, Fr.

P – Taylor Clemons, Madison Academy, Jr.

P – Tyler Craft, Colbert County, Sr.

P – Jamison Roney, Geneva, Jr.

C – Matt Morgan, Thorsby, Sr.

1B – Carson McGregory, Deshler, Sr.

2B – Dalton Reach, American Christian, Sr.

3B – John David Isbell, Colbert County, Jr.

SS – John Trousdale, Lauderdale County, So.

OF – J.T. Hyche, American Christian, Jr.

OF – Greg Lambert, Madison Academy, Sr.

OF – Nate Harcrow, Sipsey Valley, Sr.

DH – Tyler Owens, Thorsby, Jr.

DH – Trent Jones, Hamilton, Jr.

UTL – Chase Hamrick, Montevallo, Sr.

UTL – Seth Hamilton, Clements, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Clemons, Madison Academy

Hitter of the Year: Matt Morgan, Thorsby

Player of the Year: Matt Morgan, Thorsby

Coach of the Year: PJ Guy, Sipsey Valley

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Payne Anderson, Plainview, Jr.; Jonathan Pintaro, Montevallo, So.; Patton Jones, Lauderdale County, Sr.; Zach Reid, Trinity, Sr.; Ethan Davis, Opp, Sr.; Will Booth, American Christian, Jr.; Cody Mills, Sipsey Valley, Jr.; Kyle Davis, T.R. Miller, Jr.

Catcher: Isaac Hardin, Hanceville, Jr.; Caleb Spears, Plainview, Sr.

First base: Austin Chastang, Bayside Academy, So.

Second base: Daniel Rolf, Slocomb, Jr.; Trace Johnston, Trinity, Jr.

Third base: Bryan Rodopoulos, Montgomery Catholic, Jr.; Justin Thomas, Sipsey Valley, So.

Shortstop: Hunter Slater, Bayside Academy, Sr.; Blake Coward, Madison Academy, Jr.

Outfield: Payton Young, Piedmont, So.; Nick Mercier, Colbert County, Sr.; Caleb Squires, American Christian, So.; Bo McLaughlin, Madison Academy, Sr.

Designated hitter: Landen Davis, Sipsey Valley, Jr.; Caid Cornelius, Lauderdale County, Sr.

Utility: Eli Johnson, Opp, Jr.; Cody Willingham, Plainview, Jr.

Class 2A

P – Ryan Ruggles, Sheffield, Sr.

P – Kirk Maddox, Houston Academy, Sr.

P – Heath McRae, Section, Sr.

P – Braxton Wallace, Leroy, Sr.

C – Brady Johnson, Houston Academy, So.

1B – Blaine Beaird, Westbrook Christian, Sr.

2B – Drake Beavers, Sheffield, Sr.

3B – Austin Odom, Luverne, Jr.

SS – Tanner Luker, Sweet Water, Sr.

OF – Deacon Medders, Hale County, So.

OF – Ross Anderson, Section, Sr.

OF – Tristan Rice, G.W. Long, Sr.

DH – Cody Goff, Section, Sr.

DH – Jaylon Jenkins, Ohatchee, Fr.

UTL – Austin Fain, Ariton, Jr.

UTL – Kenterius Womack, Luverne, Jr.

Pitcher of the Year: Kirk Maddox, Houston Academy

Hitter of the Year: Blaine Beaird, Westbrook Christian

Player of the Year: Kirk Maddox, Houston Academy

Coach of the Year: Tony Kirkland, Houston Academy

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Kyle Cameron, Hale County, Jr.; Hunter Avery, Mobile Christian, So.

Catcher: Colby White, Sulligent, So.; Gabe Crain, Gaston, Jr.; Brett Baker, Sheffield, Jr.

First base: Kyle Walker, G.W. Long, So.

Second base: Jerrin Hester, Sulligent, Jr.; Luke Anderson, Section, Sr.

Third base: Ethan Jones, Fyffe, So.; Calab Coaker, G.W. Long, Jr.

Shortstop: Jeffrey Omohundro, Houston Academy, So.; Ethan Jimmerson, Sand Rock, Sr.

Outfield: Jake Kilgo, Westbrook Christian, Sr.; Daniel Dees, Leroy, Sr.; Tyler Ashley, Fyffe, So.

Designated hitter: Austin Spann, Lamar County, So.

Utility: Alec Reeves, Houston Academy, Sr.; Justin Lee, Zion Chapel, Sr.

Class 1A

P – Leighton Lary, St. Luke’s, So.

P – Austin Franklin, Florala, So.

P – Weston Bonner, Berry, Sr.

P – Zach Ivey, Athens Bible, Sr.

C – Trenton Simmons, Geneva County, Sr.

1B – Drew Dismukes, St. Luke’s, Sr.

2B – Luke Phillips, St. Luke’s, Jr.

3B – Mitchell Boyd, Shoals Christian, Sr.

SS – Tanner Traglia, Shoals Christian, Sr.

OF – Brandon Cook, St. Luke’s, Sr.

OF – Carter Corneil, Athens Bible, Sr.

OF – Dalton Davis, Billingsley, Jr.

DH – Devante Dixon, Cedar Bluff, Jr.

DH – Mikey Rogers, Shades Mountain Christian, Sr.

UTL – Ryan Bradford, Falkville, Jr.

UTL – Patrick Smith, Kinston, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Leighton Lary, St. Luke’s

Hitter of the Year: Brandon Cook, St. Luke’s

Player of the Year: Brandon Cook, St. Luke’s

Coach of the Year: Bill Murrell, Athens Bible

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Garrison Mays, Lynn, So.; Landon Lindsay, Geneva County, Jr.; Matthew Sheffield, Georgiana, Jr.

Catcher: Cole Murphy, Gaylesville, Sr.; Colby Wheeler, Winterboro, Sr.; Spencer Black, Sumiton Christian, Sr.

First base: Weston Brasell, Fayetteville, So.

Second base: Tristan Alexander, Sumiton Christian, So.; Logan Bailey, Kinston, Sr.

Third base: Will Rowell, Shades Mountain Christian, Jr.

Shortstop: Evan Love, Sumiton Christian, So.

Outfield: Dalton Cosby, Cedar Bluff, Sr.; Zane McGrady, Fayetteville, So.; Andrew Pelts, Winterboro, Sr.

Designated hitter: Danny Haskell, St. Luke’s, Jr.; Collin Fuller, Decatur Heritage, Jr.

Utility: Grant Benefield, Spring Garden, Sr.; Gable Lawson, Gaylesville, Sr.; Harrison Boozer, Shades Mountain Christian, So.


P – Austin Menard, Tuscaloosa Academy, Sr.

P – Tanner Thomason, Glenwood, Sr.

P – Christian Smith, Edgewood, So.

P – Colton Pate, Coosa Valley, Sr.

C – Hayden Nichols, Clarke Prep, Sr.

1B – Robey Smalley, Tuscaloosa Academy, Sr.

2B – Corey Lowe, Lowndes, Sr.

3B – Heath Young, Edgewood, Sr.

SS – Chandler Avant, Pike Liberal, Sr.

OF – Kyle Helms, Abbeville Christian, Sr.

OF – D.J. Thomas, Hooper, Jr.

OF – Colby Myers, Clarke Prep, Sr.

DH – Drew Spivey, Lakeside, Jr.

DH – Kyle Friday, Marengo Academy, Jr.

UTL – Taylor Hawthorne, Edgewood, Sr.

UTL – Caleb Tucker, Clarke Prep, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Austin Menard, Tuscaloosa Academy

Hitter of the Year: Chandler Avant, Pike Liberal

Player of the Year: Chandler Avant, Pike Liberal

Coach of the Year: Darrell Hobson, Clarke Prep

Honorable mention

Pitcher: Chase Laney, Edgewood, Sr.; Zach Paulene, Autauga Academy, Sr.; Ryan Burkett, Fort Dale, Jr.; Hayden Huckabee, Marengo Academy, So.

Catcher: Tucker Johnson, SMCA, Jr.; Chapman Dean, Macon-East, So.

First base: Elijah Owen, Eastwood, Sr.

Second base: Drake Cabe, Fort Dale, Jr.; David Cayton, Edgewood, Jr.

Third base: Lathan Johnson, Tuscaloosa Academy, Sr.; Brant Lewis, Marengo Academy, Sr.

Shortstop: Brandon Moseley, Glenwood, Fr.; Garrett Headley, Lowndes, Sr.

Outfield: Matt Johnson, Macon-East, Jr.; Lawson Humphries, Glenwood, Jr.; Wil Pouncey, Coosa Valley, Sr.; Dezmond Howard, Hooper, Sr.

Designated Hitter: Matthew Parnell, Clarke Prep, Jr.; Michael Mims, Coosa Valley, Sr.

Utility: Peyton Wilson, Jackson Academy, Sr.; Chad Silvani, Glenwood, Sr.