DENVER –– Hollyn Franklin is a pitcher who loves to hit. So when it came time to decide which institution of higher learning would receive her services, she chose the one that would let her do both.
The North Lincoln senior who had eight home runs and a 3.30 ERA during the regular season signed last week to play softball for Division II King University, located in Bristol, Tenn.
Most student-athletes have a desire to play at the D-I level, but not Franklin. She wanted to go where the bat could remain in her hands.
“At D-Is, they just want you to pitch, but I want to be able to hit and pitch and play the field,” she said. “I looked at a few different ones, but King really stood out.
“I love pitching, but I like hitting, too.”
Among those other schools were Belmont Abbey, Lees-McRae, Guilford College, Newberry College and North Greenville University, Franklin said.
Franklin said she began playing softball at age 8, and started pitching a year later. Two years ago, she switched pitching coaches, and this year was part of first-year Knights coach Carlee Carpenter’s team that will host Morganton Freedom today at 6 p.m. in the second round of the NCHSAA state 3A playoffs.
Carpenter and her staff, which includes her father, Mike, the former head coach at Bandys, and Billy “Chief” Gerald, have helped Franklin tap into her potential and make real her dream of playing at the next level, she said.
“The new coaching staff this year, they’ve helped me and pushed me. I’ve become a more self-disciplined person in general,” Franklin said. “It’s definitely been my dream to play college softball. I never expected I’d be good enough to accomplish it, but I have, and I know it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to do that.”
Carpenter, a 2008 Bandys graduate who pitched four years at Lenoir-Rhyne University, knows first-hand the difference in facing high school batters and those at the D-II level.
She said Franklin has what it takes to become as dominant as she has this year, both in the batter’s box and the pitching circle.
Franklin had 52 strikeouts in 72 regular-season innings, and hit .410 with a .473 on-base percentage and an .844 slugging percentage.
“Hollyn is one of the most coachable girls. She will work hard, no matter what,” Carpenter said. “She is very determined. She stays on herself. She is self-motivated. She loves the game, she loves the team. She is the total package. King will be very glad to have her as a part of their team.
“Hollyn works hard, and pitching is something that she is dedicated to, and I think that she will work as hard as she needs to work so that she comes out on top at that level.”
Now that Franklin, who said she wants to major in biology and pursue a career in the medical field, has her college of choice nailed down, her next hurdle is getting acclimated to being away from home.
Going three hours away will help her do that, she said.
“Hopefully that will get me out of my comfort zone a little bit,” Franklin said. “I’m a homebody. I always want to be at home.”