Franklin board hears pitch for junior high baseball team

Franklin School Board members were thrown a pitch Monday by an assistant high school baseball coach.

The question on the table is whether the junior high school needs its own baseball team.

“Appreciate us, help us,” Jordan Cherry asked board members.

The junior high school has a team that operates as a “club team,” has no official capacity and is paid for by booster funds, athletic director Becky Barnes said.

Barnes also said that all the other sports played at the high school, save for tennis, have a junior high team, including softball.

“It’s very important to have a feeder program,” Cherry told the board.

“Isn’t Little League your feeder program,” board member Misty Nalepa asked Cherry.

Cherry replied that he supposed “bitty ball” would count as a feeder program then as well.

Cherry said that by having a junior high team, the district would be better able to train and teach the boys so they are ready to play at the junior varsity and varsity levels. As it stands, boys can play in Little League until they are 12, then they have the option to enter into Junior League from 13 to 14 and then Senior League.

Junior League was not offered this year.

Cherry said expenses for the team would run about $1,200 for transportation, $800 for umpire fees, $1,300 for a head coach salary and $1,200 for an assistant coach. Uniforms and equipment would be “fed” down from the high school team, Cherry said.

Cherry pointed out that the high school team has been “very successful” in the past few years and asked what kind of message is being sent to students who wish to play baseball in junior high.

“Maybe you’re just a second thought, I don’t know,” he said.

The board will vote on the matter at their meeting next week.

In other business Monday, board members voted unanimously to hire K.C. Miller for the assistant high school principal position that was left vacant after George Svolos retired in June.

Miller, a Franklin graduate, is currently a school psychologist for Valley Grove School District and could be retained there for up to 60 days.