SALADO — Jenna Franz considered her future and finally decided to have the surgery.
But, before going in to have the torn labrum in her right shoulder repaired last April, Franz asked if she’d be able to pitch in the Salado Lady Eagles’ final home game of the season.
Of course her doctor told her “No,” but Franz still took the field that night.
“She came to the field and told the girls to have fun, get out there and play their hearts out and just showed how much of a leader she was even (then) coming straight from surgery. That was truly remarkable,” Salado softball coach Kory Craddick said.
Franz, the only senior on this year’s Salado roster, further cemented her leader-by-example role in the Salado gym Monday when she signed committal papers to play softball at Division III Concordia University Texas in Austin.
“I knew coming into my senior year I didn’t want to give up playing
softball, because I’ve been playing it since I was 4 years old,” Franz said. “The opportunity to play at Concordia, where I can still be in a Christian environment, is just awesome and I’m just so excited.”
Franz, who’s earned academic all-district distinction three times in softball and four times in volleyball, is hitting .491 this season with a .600 slugging percentage and .583 average with runners in scoring position. She’s 2-0 in three appearances in the circle and has a 0.00 ERA.
She was an all-district first-team pitcher as a sophomore and a second-team selection as a freshman and junior. She was also the District 25-3A Defensive MVP in volleyball in 2011, the year she tore her labrum.
“When they told me I tore my labrum, I thought I was going to have to quit altogether, but they gave me the option to wait and rehab it out or just have the surgery. Of course, I just wanted to rehab it because I didn’t want to stop playing at all,” Franz said. “I didn’t really want to give it up because I wanted to fix it myself, but I couldn’t really do that.”
Not wanting to jeopardize her senior year was about the only thing that could’ve pulled her off the field last season.
Franz tore the labrum the previous September in volleyball. Not only did she play through the injury for the remainder of the volleyball season, but she also pitched through the pain for as long as she could bear it in softball last spring.
When she could no longer pitch, she still hit for Salado as the team’s designated player.
“She competed until she just couldn’t go anymore,” Craddick said. “Every game that she pitched, you knew it was hurting her, but she’s such a fierce competitor, she wasn’t going to try to come out, she wasn’t going to come off the field unless we really had to pull her off ... then it finally got serious enough that she just had to have the surgery.”
Franz said she was looking at a number of other colleges, but on her official visit to Concordia, she fell in love with the campus and its home-like atmosphere.
“It’s close to home, where my family is, and I really want my family to be there to support me and watch me,” Franz said. “And, it’s actually on a nature reserve so everything’s really pretty and it’s all in the outdoors. It’s so beautiful and I feel like I’m at home whenever I’m there. It just feels really comfortable.”