Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for June 9, 2024

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Sunday, June 9, 2024 | 6:40 PM


Trib HSSN baseball player of the week: Carson Franc

School: Avonworth

Class: Sophomore

Position: First base, pitcher

#Earned: Avonworth was one of only two WPIAL champions (across all six classifications) crowned this spring who did not lose in the opening round of the state playoffs. The Antelopes knocked off Martinsburg Central from District 6 in the PIAA first round, 6-1. Sophomore Carson Franc scored a run and smacked a two-run double to highlight a six-run fourth inning in the victory. His unexpected heroics in the quarterfinals on Thursday did not come at the plate; they came on the mound. With the ’Lopes shorthanded in the pitching category and starter Aidan Tinker struggling against District 10 champion Fairview, Franc was summoned in the third inning and ended up pitching 6 2/3 of scoreless relief while allowing only two hits and striking out eight as Avonworth fought back to tie, then win the game in nine innings, 5-4.

What coach says: “Carson came up with a big hit that opened things up for us,” Avonworth head coach Jeff Bywalski said about the first-round win. “He has had some really good at-bats during this postseason, and he finally found a hole. That hit had given him some real confidence.”

“Carson is a very hardworking player that is really coachable. He had a really good fall season with us, and he took that all the way through winter workouts and then into the spring. He is a player who is on the rise offensively and will keep getting better.

“Carson was unbelievable against Fairview. He didn’t know he was going to pitch until the day before, and he was extremely excited for that opportunity. He came into the game with guys on base and didn’t blink and shut it down for us when we needed him to. He gave us an unbelievable outing to give us an opportunity to win the game. Can’t say enough about what he did for us.

“Carson was spotting his fastball both inside and outside, which kept their batters off balance. He also was throwing his curveball early for strikes, and even when he didn’t throw for strikes he got them to swing and miss. He had his full arsenal that day and was extremely confident in what he was doing.”

Background: While he didn’t pitch much this season, with the graduation of key arms, Franc is expected to form a strong 1-2 punch with fellow sophomore Cooper Scharding for the Antelopes next spring. Franc believes he held first base while he stretched in the seventh inning of the 2024 WPIAL 3A title game against Riverside, which would have allowed the Antelopes to unseat the Panthers as champions seven innings earlier than they eventually did. Franc is fourth on the team in RBIs this season behind sophomore Jack Dolan, junior Mason Metz and Scharding. While his focus was on baseball this season at Avonworth, Franc played several sports when he was younger, including hockey, for which he has a passion.

2024 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 9: David Posey, North Allegheny

Week 8: David Shields, Mt. Lebanon

Week 7: Dylan Smith, Blackhawk

Week 6: Brock Cornell, West Allegheny

Week 5: A.J. Verdi, Mohawk

Week 4: Jake Robinson, Montour

Week 3: Gio LoNero, Seton LaSalle

Week 2: Tommy Schafale, North Catholic

Week 1: Ryan Petras, Bethel Park

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