She can’t be perfect, but Jenna Franz has to try.
She is fiercely competitive and just as prone to frustration as anyone else.
She is also the only senior on the Lady Eagles’ softball team. To her, that’s a role, not a title.
“She’s a girl that will step up and she will talk to the girls, she’ll pat on them the back when they’re down, she’ll boost them back up. ... And, she’s a good girl to follow because she just works her butt off,” said Salado softball coach Kory Craddick. “She’s such a hard-worker and she leads by such a good example, these girls just follow suit and they want to play for her because she’s working so hard for them.”
Franz received 296 votes (81.7 percent) and won the KDHPressbox.com Player of the Week honor for Feb. 16-22.
The first baseman went 4 for 4 and scored three runs to lead the Lady Eagles over Waco University 14-8 in the championship game of the KISD tournament last Saturday. She was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI in an 11-3 semifinal win over Harker Heights, one of six teams playing in the tournament that was larger than Salado.
“We’re coming in as one of the smallest teams in the tournament and we see all these big teams,” Franz said. “We’re not expected to win, we’re the underdogs and we just go in with nothing to lose and end up playing awesome. The feeling is great beating 4A and 5A schools.”
Ellison senior guard Malik Hawkins finished second in the voting with 50 votes after scoring 25 points against Belton and helping lead the Eagles to their first district title since 2004.
Mohamed Balde, an Ellison soccer player who scored four goals in wins over Copperas Cove and Temple, finished third. Copperas Cove senior guard Cory Scott finished fourth after scoring 33 points in the Bulldawgs’ 73-72 overtime win against Shoemaker to clinch their first playoff berth since 2008.
Salado playing in the 5A softball tournament last weeked was Craddick’s way of testing Lady Eagles through adversity. After a season-opening loss to 3A-No. 4 Liberty Hill, Salado won six straight at the tournament, which also included 5A teams Ellison, Harker Heights, Killeen, 4A teams Waco High and White Settlement Brewer, 3A China Spring and 2A Moody.
“I just kind of thrive off of that because I love being a leader,” Franz said. “I love being vocal and leading by example. I like whenever girls look up to me because ... when I was an underclassman, I looked up to the seniors and I wanted to be just like them. I have to be on my A-game and make sure I’m modelling good sportsmanship so people will look up to me and want to be like me when they get older.”