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Quakers coax out the pride

Prep Watch • New coaches in multiple sports have a plan for Franklin
by: KATIE HARTLEY, Franklin High varsity shortstop Anthony Lopez gets the out as Wilson’s Bailey Graham slides into second base in the third inning Wednesday. Wilson won the game 13-3.

Franklin High is looking to the future, with an eye on rebuilding neighborhood pride and some of its athletic programs.

The Quakers hired a new girls soccer coach this week - Jon Marcus, who played five sports at Franklin (Class of 2002) and won a city title in cross country. In a few weeks, the Quakers also should have new coaches in boys soccer and boys basketball.

Marcus majored in religious studies at Columbia University. He lives in the district and hopes to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the steeplechase or 5,000 meters. He also has been helping Jim Hennessey, Franklin's head track and cross-country coach.

'Jon is a real go-getter, a Pied Piper,' Athletic Director Scott Santangelo says. 'And he wants to get every one of his soccer players to college somewhere.'

Marcus, 24, says he wants to help 'restore that sense of Quaker pride in the community and in athletics. The community and my teachers gave so much to me, I just want to be there for the kids.'

Franklin's baseball program also is drawing more participation and parental involvement under first-year coach Robbie Trebelhorn.

'Sports have become too much of a chore; we want to make all our sports fun,' Santangelo says.

The AD already has had plenty of applicants to replace boys basketball coach Jerry Allen.

'I'd like to hire someone with varsity experience, who lives in our neighborhood and knows what kids are like today - that last one is huge,' Santangelo says. 'Bobby Knight was a great coach, but I think those days have somewhat passed. We need more of a mentor, and somebody who can fundraise like the dickens.'

• Jefferson's baseball program continues to rise out of the ashes under new coach Glen Baggerly. The Democrats, playing a junior varsity schedule, won their first game in years a week ago, beating Marshall 13-3. Then they beat Madison 6-3 and Cleveland 9-7.

'I've seen incredible improvement,' Baggerly says. 'Against Marshall, (Jeff players) hit shot after shot after shot.'

The best player is a foreign exchange student, Michael Kremlacek, who gained baseball experience in the Czech Republic. He has hit three home runs for the Demos. He won't be back next season, but everyone else could return except seniors Darius Strickland, Demarcus Vance and Malcolm Byrd.

'I told our freshmen that when they're seniors, we'll win the PIL,' Baggerly says.

Jefferson hasn't even fielded a team in years, other than for a game or two here and there.

'I'm not trying to teach them the entire game of baseball, they're not ready for that,' Baggerly says. 'We pitch, hit, throw and run. Our practices are fun - I just let them play and take cut after cut. There's nothing more fun than to hit.'

Last weekend, 16 players took a bus trip to Frank Bashor Supplies and the Nike Factory Store, where they got their own gloves and shoes, donated by businessmen Brian Pienovi and John Dunn.

'I've called on Jefferson for 30 years and sold them different athletic equipment,' says Cliff Holland, who pitched in the 1970s for the Class A Portland Mavericks and now works for Bashor. 'And I can tell you that they must be doing something right over there, because these kids were outstanding - they were organized, polite, courteous and every one of them came up and said, 'Thank you very much.'

'I don't care if they win a game. Just to put on a uniform and be proud of Jefferson, that's what it's all about. And Baggerly will teach them things about life that will carry on way past baseball.'

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