Thursday, May 7, 2015

Northbrook Baseball Makes Playoffs for First Time Since 1992

When Northbrook High School last made the baseball playoffs, George Bush was president, the economy was turning a little stale and a Clinton was making a run for the White House.

That president was George H.W. Bush, the challenger was Bill Clinton, and the year was 1992. We’ve had another Bush in the White House and a second Clinton vie for the presidency since then, but no Northbrook Raider team in the baseball playoffs.

What a difference 23 years makes. The Raider baseball team tied for third in District 18-6A play this year with a 6-6 district record and won a coin flip to play as the third-place team from the district. Memorial High School won district 18-6Awith a 12-0 record.

First-year coach Tracy Franklin said that “the big thing” that the Raiders are doing right now is having fun. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to keep playing.

“It’s kind of a David and Goliath thing,” Franklin said. “We’re going to get out there and play. We want to earn a little respect.”

Principal Randolph Adami said that Franklin has “energized” the program.

“One of the things that’s encouraging for the kids is that (the success) gives them a little attention,” said Adami. “They’re working hard.”

Northbrook has traveled the road to the playoffs on the arm of Ethan Franklin, who’s signed to pitch for Lamar University. If that surname sounds familiar, well, it should – Ethan is the son of Coach Franklin. Spending time with Ethan is a big reason why the elder Franklin made the move to Houston and Northbrook this year.

“I like playing with these guys,” Ethan said. “It’s a different experience.

He said he’s enjoying playing at the 6A (former 5A) level after pitching at 2A (now 3A) Kountze, where the Franklins spent the last two years.

“Some would say our (current) district wasn’t tough, but you’ve got to have pitching,” Ethan said. “If you put people on base they’re going to score.”

Catcher Logan Elliott, a junior, said that it’s fun but challenging catching for Ethan Franklin.

“You can’t blink when he’s about to throw,” said Elliott. “He throws so hard. It’s a new experience catching someone of his caliber.”

But it’s not always the smoking fastball that foils hitters, and Ethan Franklin has some other pitches. “You can’t just always blow it past guys,” said Elliott.

The players said that team morale has changed since they began realizing that they could make the playoffs – but the Raiders want more than a one-and-out series.

“We want to win a game and not just be here (in the playoffs),” said Elliott.

For Tracy Franklin, it’s about winning and the playoffs, to be sure, but also about so much more than that.

Franklin knows the playoffs – he said that one of his proudest accomplishments as a coach was watching every sport at 2A (now 3A) Kountze ISD make the playoffs his last year there. He coached the Kountze football Lions in 2013 to their first playoff appearance in 40 years.

“The kids here are respectful and want the same things as other kids,” he said. “They want to be expected to succeed.”

He’s enjoyed his first season at Northbrook, teaching shop and coaching baseball and without the administrative pressure that an athletic director’s position brings. “I wanted out of administration so I could spend time with my son. I’m enjoying myself.”

And he’s brought those expectations of success to Northbrook.

“We can run and catch and throw and hit,” said Franklin. “I can teach them the game, and I can push them to the limit and expect good things. The kids have bought into my way (of doing things). I may not always be right, but we do have a plan.”

Adami knows that successful programs take time and are built from the ground up. Still, he hopes that Northbrook baseball’s success this year will build on itself, and maybe keep some players at Northbrook who might transfer elsewhere.

“Maybe some kids will consider Northbrook a viable option,” he said. “You can come here and play.

Northbrook lost the best-of-three series with Cy-Fair High School in the bi-district round, dropping game one at home 10-0, and game two at Cy-Fair 21-2.


  1. As a 1975 grad, I am proud. Hope for continued success.

  2. Congratulations Raiders!


Do you have feedback? Tell us.