Prep softball preview: Franklin hopes to carry momentum into season

FRANKLIN — After going 11-15 overall and 6-6 to finish fourth in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division last season, the Franklin High School softball team mput together a potent display of offense in the Division II district tournament.

They won their first two games against Chaminade Julienne and Valley View by a combined 25-5 score before losing to Monroe 5-0 in the district semifinal.

Franklin coach Jim Miller hopes the Wildcats can build on that momentum well enough to make a run at their first division championship since 2016.

PREP SOFTBALL SEASON PREVIEWS

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» Lakota West Firebirds

» Middletown Christian Eagles

» Monroe Hornets

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» Carlisle Indians

» Cincinnati Christian Cougars

» Edgewood Cougars

» Fairfield Indians

» Fenwick Falcons

» Hamilton Big Blue

» Lakota East Thunderhawks

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» Lebanon Warriors

» Madison Mohawks

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» Middletown Christian Eagles

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“We need to be more consistent offensively, and we can be in the mix,” Miller said. “We are generally solid on defense.”

Junior right-hander Chloe Miller is expected to lead Franklin, both at the plate and in the field. Miller set a program record with 40 runs batted in while hitting a robust .456 in 26 games last season. The first-team all-division pick also was 4-5 with a 3.32 earned run average in 11 appearances, but she figures to spend much more time pitching with the graduation of Shelby Raby.

“Chloe will lead the team in the circle,” Jim Miller said.

Second-team pick Madison Earles, a junior third baseman described by Miller as a “very solid defender,” will serve as Franklin’s leadoff hitter. Earles ranked second on the team with a .373 average in 23 games.

Junior first baseman Brooke Stover batted .250 overall last season, but she ended the season on a roll, helping fuel that tournament eruption.

“She ended the season last year as one of Franklin’s hottest hitters,” said Miller, adding that Stover is “a top-notch first baseman.”

Miller hopes the Wildcats will get a boost from sophomore shortstop Keely Ratliff, whose family moved into the district from Edgewood.

“She’s a solid fielder who will anchor the infield,” Miller said.

No seniors were listed on the Franklin roster displayed on the SWBL website, but if that’s a concern for Miller, he didn’t mention it. The Wildcats are scheduled to open the season at Franklin on March 25 against division rival Eaton at 5 p.m. The two teams are due to square off again on March 27 at Eaton.

“Our league is solid with four or five teams I feel are very even,” Miller said. “I think any of them could win the league.”

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