Franklin Regional softball already looking ahead to 2023

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Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 2:36 PM


It wasn’t the way the Franklin Regional softball team wanted to end the 2022 season after a promising start.

But losing a starting pitcher with two games left in the season is tough to overcome.

That’s what happened to the Panthers when junior pitcher Carli Ramchandran sustained a broken right wrist when she was struck by a line drive during a nonsection game against Seneca Valley. It was a crippling loss.

After a great start, the Panthers ended up losing five of their final six games, including 14-6 to Shaler in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs to finish with a 13-7 record.

“We were faced with a difficult task of using a freshman pitcher,” Franklin Regional coach Jim Armstrong said. “Sierra (Downs) did OK for being thrust onto the big stage. She held Shaler down until the fifth inning.”

Despite the loss, the future remains bright, maybe even brighter, for the Panthers.

They graduate three starters — left fielder Kam Marcus, third baseman Alisa Kane and corner infielder Erin Hanes — but return a lot of talent, including freshmen Toryn Fulton and Ciara Camacho and juniors Madison Nguyen and Sydney Jackson.

The four combined to hit 29 home runs, eight each by Camacho and Nguyen and seven by Fulton. Nguyen batted .536 and had 36 RBIs and Fulton hit .414 with 30 RBIs.

Ramchandran was 11-4 with an earned run average of 3.458. Armstrong said one of the exciting newcomers may spell Ramchandran on the mound in 2023.

“We have a few holes to fill, but we have a couple nice freshmen and eighth graders coming up,” Armstrong said. “We didn’t have a lot of depth this season, but we should be stronger next year.”

Armstrong couldn’t talk enough about Fulton and Camacho and calls Jackson the heart and soul of the team.

“I was really proud how we played against Shaler,” Armstrong said. “They battled and never gave up. It’s what they showed me at the beginning of the season.

“I don’t think the loss left a bad taste in their mouths. It just showed them what they are capable of being.”

Armstrong said with another year of experience and strong pitching, he feels his team should be a contender in a section that will be much improved with Penn-Trafford, Latrobe and Gateway joining the Panthers, Kiski Area and Armstrong.

“I like the new section,” Armstrong said. “It’s going to be very competitive.”

And Armstrong can’t wait to get started.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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