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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Winter Warm-up – Franklin

Franklin Knights
Baseball
Coach (season, record): Gary Shingledecker (5th season, 48-32)
2011 overall record: 11-5
2011 region record (place): 8-2 (second)
2011 playoff results: Lost 7-3 to Corry in the first round of the District 10 Class AAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Cody Trinch, Dalton Johnson, Mason McFeaters
Top returning players: Trent Smith, Nick Emerson, Alex Hoover, Nolan Hall, Nate Cardy, Ryan Madden, Tyler Mooney
Assistant coaches: Roy Shingledecker, Brian Schmidt, Jim Foster
Outlook: Franklin has some big holes to fill with Cody Trinch, Dalton Johnson and Mason McFeaters gone to graduation. Trinch is playing at Thiel, while McFeaters is at Grove City. Trent Smith, Nick Emerson, Alex Hoover, Nolan Hall, Nate Cardy, Ryan Madden and Tyler Mooney are back this season, while Clayton Maxon, Chris Kahle and Brendon Evans could be impact players this season. Smith (catcher), Hoover (pitcher/outfield), Hall (pitcher) and Mooney (pitcher) provide senior leadership for fifth-year coach Gary Shingledecker. Smith is currently being scouted by Division 2 and 3 schools. Shingledecker is looking for pitchers to step up this season and support a solid lineup.

Schedule
March
26 Reynolds 4
29 at Hickory 4
April
2 DuBois 4
4 General McLane 4
9 East 4
13 Meadville* 4
16 at Commodore Perry* 3
17 at Cathedral Prep 4
20 Oil City* 4
23 Corry 4
25 Slippery Rock* 4
27 at Grove City* 4
30 Strong Vincent 4
May
2 at Meadville* 4
4 Commodore Perry* 4
7 Central Tech 4
9 at Oil City* 4
11 at Slippery Rock* 4
14 at Fort LeBoeuf 4
16 Grove City* 4
*Region games

Softball
Coach (season): Ed Winger (1st season)
2011 overall record: 5-9
2011 region record (place): 4-6 (tied for fourth)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: None
Top returning players: Kari Hanna, Jessica Green, Hannah Fowler, Elizabeth Hoobler, Christina Rice, Taylor Shingledecker, Abby Zurchar, Julie Pieffer, Dia Beggs, Cynthia Hoover, Quincey Wood
Assistant coaches: Dan Long, Shannon Howke
Outlook: Franklin has several things going for it to start the season. The Knights have a new coach in Ed Winger and everyone back from last year’s team. After losing no seniors to graduation, Franklin is bolstered even more by the addition of basketball standouts Bethany Foust and Brooke Deal. Elizabeth Hoobler did a solid job in pitching last season but is battling an offseason injury. Taylor Shingledecker pitching well during her freshman season, while Izzy Romanowski could step up as a varsity pitcher this year. Also back for the Knights are Kari Hanna, Jessica Green, Hannah Fowler, Elizabeth Hoobler, Christina Rice, Taylor Shingledecker, Abby Zurchar, Julie Pieffer, Dia Beggs, Cynthia Hoover and Quincey Wood. Hanna and Green are three-year starters at third base and catcher/centerfield, while Fowler is a two-year starter at first base. Franklin has a group of six freshmen that could make an impact this season but with an experienced group back, innings and at-bats will be hard to come by. The Knights could be an interesting team to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Schedule
March
27 at Sharon 4
April
3 at Titusville 4
5 at Warren 4
12 Grove City* 4
14 Hickory* 11 a.m.
17 at Mercer 4
19 at Jamestown* 4
21 Reynolds 11 a.m.
23 Venango Catholic 4
24 Meadville* 4
26 at Slippery Rock* 4
May
1 at Grove City* 4
2 at Hickory* 4
7 Cranberry 4
8 Jamestown* 4
10 at Meadville* 4
14 at Mercyhurst Prep 4
15 Slippery Rock* 4
17 Wilmington 4
*Region games

Monday: General McLane, Girard

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Baseball, Softball, Winter Warm-up

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