FRANKTON — Ten days ago following a loss to district rival Lapel, a member of the Frankton baseball team found a four-leaf clover in the outfield during the postgame talk with coach Brad Douglas. Frankton stood at 2-6 on the season and was suffering from a lack of confidence.
The Eagles haven't loss since, reeling off four wins in a row, including Monday night’s 3-2 upset of Class 2A No. 4 Wapahani in nine innings.
Douglas acknowledged the team still has the clover, but its improved play is not the result of a piece of grass.
“These kids are understanding what playing for each other means, one guy fails and the next guy picks them up,” Douglas said. “Once you start playing baseball like that, it becomes more than a sport.”
Frankton played a solid fundamental game and did not crack under pressure against the Raiders, who sported six players with batting averages above .400. Starting pitcher Austin Webb surrendered three hits through the first four innings but Wapahani did not score until Zack Thompson led off the fifth with a triple and scored on a one-out single by Taylor McKee.
The Eagles' defense came through for Webb when he needed it. Logan Weins made two difficult catches in foul territory to end innings, and the Eagles turned two double plays. Blaine Reed fielded a grounder by Luke Snider in the fifth, tossed the ball to Bryce Mallernee for the force at second and Mallernee fired the ball to Weins to keep Wapahani from taking the lead.
“I feel like I have one of the best middles in the state,” Douglas said of Reed and Mallernee.
In the fourth, centerfielder Chris Kistler gunned down Austin White at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
“Kistler is a gamer, he’s got a big heart and he’s leading us in sac bunts,” said Douglas. “He does what’s asked of him, and as a coach you can’t ask for more than that.”