Franklin To Cap Career With All Star Appearance


Booneville School District | 6/18/2024

PHOTO CREDIT: Amanda Franklin

Lexi Franklin did a lot of things nobody had ever done in a Lady Bearcat softball uniform. Friday night she will do another.

No. Franklin is not the first Lady Bearcat to be invited to play in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association all star softball game.

Just last year Leigh Swint played in the game and the year before, for which head coach Chad Simpson was an assistant, and Brooke Turner played a year prior.

But, Franklin will be the first to be in the all star dugout twice. That is because the year Turner was invited, then head coach Ronnie Denton was the head coach, Franklin was the manager selected for that game.

She was also extended an offer from a junior college coach at that game – a full season before the state title winning performance on the same field in Conway.

While that offer would not be accepted, Franklin did later accept one from Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, Kan. Last week Franklin said she will leave for Pittsburg, Kan., to join the Lady Gorillas sometime in August.

Of course this year Franklin being on the team was a no-brainer. She now appears on top or in the top 10 of a plethora of categories in the state sports record book.

Included is a 23 strikeout game earlier this year that is the new standard for the state and her career 1,033 strikeouts, reaching the 1,000 career mark in the opening round of the Class 3A Region 1 tournament opener.

With Franklin striking out 342, the Lady Bearcats set a team record with 368 strikeouts this season just surpassing the 361 by Rose Bud in 2019. She had 83 career wins with 30 being by shutout.

But on a roster likely littered with pitchers, will she get to pitch in Friday’s double header?

“I hope so but I have no idea. As long as I get to play I’m good,” said Franklin.

As a member on the West roster Franklin will also share a dugout with Atkins’ Libby May, who was in the opposing dugout when the Lady Bearcats won the 2023 title in Conway and in Hot Springs for the 2024 state tournament game Atkins won in extra innings.

“It’s awesome for her to get the opportunity to go out there one last time as a Booneville Bearcat athlete,” said Simpson. “She’s the best to come through Booneville and one of the best in the state.”

Franklin and her West teammates will spend the night Thursday before taking the field Friday night on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

“It’s not like there are plays to memorize,” she said of the short preparation time.

Besides, it is not as if Franklin ever stops playing softball. She is out this summer, as typical, with her travel team Vision almost every weekend.

At Pittsburg State Franklin expects to be used as both a pitcher and in the field. That should not be an issue as she hit .509 this season with 11 home runs and 47 RBI.