Tag Archive for: Chase Franken


STRUTHERS OH- The Astro Falcons have forced a winner take all Game 5 in the 18U Championship Series. They dominated Creekside Thursday night in a 9-0 victory. They made the most out of their hits, scoring their nine runs on just six hits.

Ricky Havrilla has a big night going 1-3 with a run scored, a walk, and 2 RBI.  Lucas Gulcznski almost matched those numbers going 1-3 with a run score and 2 RBI. Brandon Gelpi went 1-3 with a walk and 2 RBI. The Falcons walked 11 times on the night. Chase Franken walked 3 times. JJ Wetherholt Walker twice, he also went 1-2 with a run scored.

Creekside only managed 3 hits on the night, and two of them came from BJ Arnold who went 2-3. Cole Yeager collected the other hit going 1-3. David Duffalo walked once.

Andrew Russell got the shutout victory on the mound for the Falcons. He went all 7 innings giving up 0 runs on 3 hits. He struck out 9 while only walking 1.


By Chase Franken


The definition of baseball is “a ball game played between two teams of nine on a field with a diamond-shaped circuit of four bases.” A game that can simply change a life… or millions of them. Fathers and sons are out in the backyard each day tossing a white ball with red seams that doesn’t seem like a big deal. It is. That game of catch can bond a father and a son. The conversations I have had with my father while playing a game of catch go beyond baseball. So yes a white ball being tossed back and forth does mean a little something more than what it seems like. Right now a kid and his father walk into their home to turn on Sportstime Ohio to watch their beloved Indians baseball team… but there isn’t a game on. There’s no crack of the bat or the cheering of the crowd every time a big play is made. The father and son who planned to watch the game together have been deprived of their opportunity to bond once again. Tell me that baseball is just a game. Tell me that taking it away is what is best for us.


God has blessed my teammates and me with a unique talent. It takes a little more than physique and athleticism to be able to play the game of baseball. It takes hard work and dedication to boring details, and those boring details end up meaning the most in the big situations. If this much detail is put into someone’s work, then it becomes a lifestyle. We hear that all the time don’t we? “Baseball isn’t just a game, it’s a lifestyle.” People laugh at it, but it’s true. Just like any other sport or activity or career that you worked hard to perfect, baseball takes over someone’s life. Once again I say. Tell me that taking this away is what’s best for us.


Why is it fair that everyone else got to graduate in the correct way? Why can’t we be the same as everyone else? Why us? When we’re all grown men and women and we look back we’re going to see an incomplete senior year. We’re going to see all of the opportunities that were lost in the amount of time we missed. Some senior years end in state championships that change lives forever. Do we really want to take that chance away from the high school ballers who have dreamed of winning it all? Are we even saving lives by taking away those moments? Are we overprotecting teenagers who are barely at risk if at all? No one really seems to know. We have never done this before and it makes us seniors really sad that the people in charge don’t see the situation too well through our eyes.


I am mindful that people are getting seriously ill and dying in America and around the world. This disease is very serious. No one wants to see their family member or friend pass away, especially from this virus. My grandpa is 80 years old and is considered a high risk. We know the dangers.


Are we sure taking away our rights is saving my grandpa’s life? I don’t think everyone agrees. It hurts to know that the elders in my life have no say in what happens to our school year or season. My grandpas really want me to play. One of them even came home all the way from South Korea to watch me. My friends and I have been dreaming of the year 2020 since we were kids. We always knew this was our big year. This year we are supposed to get to attend our last prom, play our last seasons, run our last meets. And none of us have a choice on if we can do these things or not. What hope do we have? Can anyone see this through our eyes? Can anyone realize that they most likely do not know what having their senior year taken away feels like? It hurts to say the least. I can guarantee one thing. My family would much rather watch me play my senior baseball season then be protected from a virus even if it’s a terrible one. This has never been done before and we’re just all wondering I guess why this year everything has to be canceled when the country has had so many die before from other viruses.


As time goes on during this break I can feel my sense of reality dwindling away. I’m waiting to wake up from this dream. I’m sure most of my classmates and teammates can agree with me. We live in the most free country in the world and we can’t even participate in our last season? Our last year? This has a heavier effect on kids that deal with depression. Having this disorder only gets worse when situations like these occur. We’re living in a dystopian society and depression is going to begin to take over if we don’t return to real life soon. To the naked eye, who wouldn’t think that this is the right thing to do? Shutting everything done just means no physical contact and therefore no spread of disease. But this is America! The land of the free where we get to do the things we love no matter what. No matter what!


I’m sure us die hard fans of baseball can agree on one thing. We will do whatever it takes to get back on that field. I will wear a mask if I have to at the plate and if we don’t shake hands after the games then so be it. I love to see the fans in the stands, but at this point I don’t think anyone cares just as long as we play.


The Penn-Ohio football game just got canceled. So now along with baseball taking a hard hit, the football players that have worked their whole lives to earn all-star bids like this are deprived of yet another perk that they earned! I think it’s time we as states and as a country take a step back and see this for all that it’s doing. We don’t know what would have taken place if we didn’t “social distance.” What we do know is that each and every senior’s hard-earned rewards are no longer important in some eyes. And kids are also going to begin thinking that something that can be taken away so easily maybe doesn’t deserve all of their time and effort. We flipped the switch off so easily and everyone is waiting for that switch to be flipped back on. I feel terrible for the basketball players who got their state tournament taken away. Imagine the scenes at their households that night. Imagine the look in their eyes when they realized all that they worked for got taken away. Can we think about that before we make decisions in this near future?


Lastly, opinions have been voiced about how a three-week return to school isn’t worth it. If you believe this then you must not be in high school or have kids in high school that are dying to finish the year right. So yes three weeks of school is important and I hope at the beginning of May at the latest that hope is restored. I love the game of baseball and all of the relationships it’s built for me. Without baseball, I wouldn’t be who I am today.


So tell me that taking all of this away is what’s best for us?  God bless!


*It should be noted that I was reluctant at first to write this because I have not yet lost hope for our season. And I hope the people in charge haven’t either!






COLUMBIANA, OH-  Columbiana Senior Chase Franken has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at Youngstown State University. 

Franken is a three-year starter for Head Coach Ryan Wolf’s Clippers. Franken earned 2nd Team PBR and Honorable Mention All-Ohio honors last season as well as First Team Northeast District.  Additionally, Franken has been named 1st Team All-League his three years as a Clipper.  Franken has a career .455 batting average including 112 hits (second career behind Mitch Davidson’s 113) and school records with 24 doubles, 20 triples, and 47 extra-base hits. Franken also holds the career record in runs scored (102) and triples in a season (8).

On the mound, Franken has amassed 17 wins and 186 strikeouts.  Academically, Franken carries a 3.8 GPA and earned Academic All-Ohio Honors in 2019. Franken also has excelled on the football field as he currently holds three school records, was a three-time all-league selection and earned 2nd team Northeast Inland District honors this past season.

Franken also competes in the summer for the Astro Falcons under the tutelage of Don Pletcher.  Franken was a vital piece of the team that went to the Palomino World Series in 2019.

At YSU, Chase will be under the watchful eye of Dan Bertolini who continues to make it a point to keep local talent in The Valley while competing with some of college baseball’s best programs.


NEW FRANKLIN, OH-The Columbiana Clippers faced a daunting task to open the 2019 high school football season, stopping the prolific Manchester Panthers ground game.  The Clipper defense was up to the challenge. Ethan Wright, who has rushed for over 5,000 yards and 65 touchdowns over the past two seasons, was held under 100 yards and scoreless, but the perennial Division V power found a way to pull out a 21-14 victory over the visiting Clippers anyway.  It was victory number 393 for the legendary head coach of Manchester, James France, in his 48th year at the helm.

Wright lined up as quarterback for much of the game and found fellow running back Hunter Foster for a 28-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive.  The Clippers quickly responded behind Jakob Cross’s arm and legs as the senior signal-caller led them downfield before handing to Hunter Woodring for a 3-yard score to knot it up, 7-7.  Coach Spaite’s offense took the lead early in the second quarter when Cross hit Chase Franken for a 64-yard touchdown pass. But late in the first half, crucial mistakes by the Clippers led to a game-tying touchdown pass by the Panthers, and the teams went to intermission tied, 14-14. 

Both teams played outstanding defense leading to a scoreless third quarter.  Then, midway through the fourth, Riley Soles took a Cross pass the other way for a game-deciding pick-six.  Ethan Wright snagged another interception on Columbiana’s next possession to seal the win.

Cross ended the night with 250 combined passing and rushing yards.  Franken had 5 receptions for 122 yards while Hunter Zentner grabbed six catches for 62 yards.  Foster had over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards for Manchester.

Columbiana will host McDonald at Firestone Park next Friday, Sept. 6 at 7:00 PM.  YSN will have coverage starting at 6:45.  


*Story Contributed by Mark Franken


LAREDO, TX- Facing elimination and seeking revenge for a heartbreaking loss to Puerto Rico on Saturday night, Coach Don Pletcher handed the ball to the battle-tested young man with a championship pedigree, and Chase Franken again displayed the mettle that has earned him a long list of big game victories as Youngstown defeated Puerto Rico 6-3 here Sunday night.

After a shaky start that saw Franken uncharacteristically walk two in the first inning, leading to two runs for Puerto Rico, he found his groove retiring 14 of 15 batters at one point.  He went the distance allowing 3 runs on five hits while striking out six and walking three. 

Offensively, the Astro Falcons took an early 1-0 lead as Franken started the game with a base hit and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Justin Miknis.  They tied the score at 2-2 in the second when Bobby Lane scored on a balk. Then trailing 3-2 in the fourth, Lucas Gulczinski led off with a single and was moved along by a Ricky Havrilla base hit.  Brandon Gelpi drew a walk, setting the stage for the night’s biggest blow. Brayden Beck delivered a bases-clearing triple to right giving Youngstown a 5-3 lead. Franken then drove home Beck to finish the scoring.

Youngstown now faces Puerto Rico for the rubber match tomorrow morning here at Uni-Trade in Laredo.  Once again, YSNlive.com will bring you the game at 11:00 a.m. EST. The winner of that game plays Chinese-Tapei for the 2019 Palomino World Championship at 8:00 p.m. EST. 


*Contributed by Mark Franken


COLUMBUS, OH- Two of the area’s top stars have gained some deserving accolades earlier this week.  Lisbon’s Logan Bell and Columbiana’s Chase Franken were chosen as All-Ohioan’s at their respective levels.

Logan Bell was chosen as First Team in Division IV and represented the Northeast in their selections.  Bell boasted a 7-2 record this season with a 0.91 ERA in just over 60 innings of work.  He also shattered Lisbon school records for strikeouts in a game (18) and in a season (131).  Bell’s numbers at the plate were just as impressive with a .506 batting average in 2019 which ties a school record as well.

Those numbers are no surprise when you take a look at the University of Akron recruit’s career marks for strikeouts (311) and ERA at 1.59.

“Logan is a great student of the game.  He is always thinking about ways to achieve greater success…constantly asking questions, helping the pitcher that day with things he sees from the dugout.  He is truly a player young guys can look at as a great role model and I’m so happy he’s on my side, and not against.” says Bell’s summer league coach, Don Pletcher of the Astro Falcons.

Columbiana’s Chase Franken was also selected as All-Ohio as Honorable Mention in Division III.  Columbiana’s record holder for doubles, triples, and runs is stacking awards from all over and is just getting ready to become a senior in 2020.  This year, Franken posted a minuscule 0.74 ERA with 75 strikeouts to coincide.  Offensively, he led the Clippers in every category but runs batted in.  A .443 average that included a pair of home runs, a dozen doubles, six triples, and 21 steals.  Franken still feels his senior season could be his best yet.

“Chase is a dirt-dog.  He will use every tool in his belt to succeed.  He is the best second baseman in the league, and looks to other players for guidance, and will follow in their footsteps when he plays at the D1 level.” added Franken’s summer manager, Pletcher.

You can catch both Bell and Franken playing this summer in the Youngstown Class B league for the Astro Falcons.

Congratulations to both on stellar seasons, and best of luck to both as they transition to summer ball.


COLUMBIANA, OH-  After a gift-wrapped run in the first inning, the Columbiana Clippers (2-1) scored nine unanswered runs to defeat the Southern Local Indians 9-1 here at Firestone Park Tuesday afternoon.

Chase Franken went the distance on the hill, which was a six-inning affair due to darkness.   He struck out 15 and walked two while scattering five hits. Southern’s leadoff batter, Smalley, reached on a passed ball and scored on a dropped popup in the first for the lone Indians run.  

The Clippers also took advantage of shaky defense in the first scoring two runs on three ground balls in the infield.  After getting two quick outs in the second, starter Timmy West looked to settle in, but a two-strike single by Seth Ross and a Ryan Fahs walk set the plate for a two-run triple by Franken giving the Clips a 4-1 lead after two.  Fahs then broke it open with a three-run double in the fifth. Ross, Fahs, and Zach Pleska had multiple hit games for the Clippers. Utt had two hits for the Indians.


**Written by YSN’s Voice of the Clippers-Mark Franken**


COLUMBIANA, OH-  Chase Franken settled in after a rough start to the 2019 campaign going the distance as Columbiana defeated East Palestine 5-2 here at frigid Firestone Park.  After the Bulldogs scored two unearned in the first and threatened in the second, Franken retired 16 of the last 17 en route to complete game win. He struck out 11 and walked two.

The Bulldogs had an aggressive mindset at the plate.  Connor Elliot hit the first pitch of the game to left center for a double and scored on a ball that got through the left side.   With two out, another error allowed Dalton Vance to score for an early 2-0 advantage. However, Sean Helpy gave up two walks to start the bottom of the second which set up the Clippers’ go-ahead inning. Wayne Davis had the big hit. His knock scored Zach Pleska, and Erik Hopfenziz followed after a throwing error. Davis then scored on a wild pitch to put the Clippers ahead for good 3-2.   They added single runs in the fourth and sixth as junior Ryan Fahs had an RBI single.

There weren’t many hard-hit balls as a cold, biting wind made it very difficult for both teams at the plate.  Helpy was the hard-luck loser as he pitched effectively into the sixth.

The Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference and Route 14 rivals will meet again in East Palestine at the Next Level complex on Wednesday at 5 p.m.   


**Written by YSN’s Voice of Columbiana: Mark Franken**


SANDUSKY, OH- The Clippers traveled to Sandusky on a cold and windy Saturday for their first opportunity to compete in the 2019 season.  Strong performances on the mound and clutch performances at the plate helped the Clippers come out on top.  Beyond the results on the scoreboard, it was a great opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and the returning veterans to get back in the swing of things.

Chase Franken, Zachary Pleska, Rylie McElwain, Ryan Fahs, and Wayne Davis all were strong on the mound as they combined to allow only 1 hit and 3 runs (1 earned) on the afternoon.  At the plate, the Clippers knocked in 10 out of 13 runs scored with 2 outs, led by Brady Dixon who hit a 2 run inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat of the afternoon.

The Clippers are back in action this week with three more varsity scrimmages scheduled and two JV scrimmages.  These are great opportunities for Columbiana to fine-tune before the season openers for both squads next Monday, March 25th.




It isn’t often that you associate greatness into a high school football team, but in Columbiana, there’s plenty to go around!

While the Clippers have not got off to the start they were hoping for, the eyes stay bright, and the goals remain the same.  Win every down.  This year the Clippers are once again a young team trying to find their flight path in mid-air.  However with players such as Chase Franken, and his teammates- Coach Spaite understands that greatness is just one whistle away.

We had a chance to catch up with Columbiana’s multi-sport standout and talk X’s and O’s, as well as a round of rapid-fire questioning you won’t want to miss.

This week’s Columbiana Player Profile is Chase Franken: CHASING GREATNESS

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