By: David Bork
CHICAGO – Southland Vikings President and Owner Don Popravak has named Kevin Franchetti the next Southland Vikings manager for 2017 season.
“The fact that he is an experienced ball player, played in our league and played three years professionally,” Popravak said. “Kevin has a big knowledge of the game and he has absorbed a lot of knowledge.”
Franchetti, a Highland, Ind. native, former collegiate baseball player, Midwest Collegiate League player and now college coach will manage the Southland Vikings.
Franchetti said it is a great opportunity for him to manage the Vikings.
“I am from the area. I played in the league, I know how the league works,” Franchetti said. “It is a great time to coach them up, experience the college feel of baseball, help them continue their playing career and know how to compete.”
Franchetti is currently a graduate assistant at Quincy University in Quincy, Ill.
"Laid back atmosphere, good job and no problems and it has helped me so much," Franchetti said.
Franchetti, who started his baseball career at Andrean High School, attributes his early success to Andrean Baseball Head Coach, Dave Pishkur.
“Piskhur taught me the in-and-outs, the importance of being a student-athlete and got to know more about the game of baseball,” Franchetti said. “Ever since my senior year I knew baseball would be my passion in some fashion.”
A three-year catcher at Ball State, Franchetti enjoyed his time in Muncie.
“Ball State helped me grow and develop as a player, it is a great way to develop as a player,” Franchetti said. "You have to make the time and put the work in and helped me grow as a young man."
Before Franchetti's senior year, he decided to transfer to Carson-Newman, Franchetti learned how to become a better catcher at Carson-Newman all thanks to Tom Griffin.
"Best decision of my life. Great university, coaches were great and helped me develop as a player," Franchetti said. "Griffin was a professional and collegiate player and I learned so much from him. I knew I wanted to pursue being a coach after my experience there."
Franchetti attributes all his success to the people around him.
"I would not be where I am today without the support and love from my parents, my family and my friends," Franchetti said.
Popravak said he knows that Franchetti can field a competitive team.
“I expect the Vikings to be back in the playoffs,” Popravak said. “Kevin being a younger coach, he has something top prove.”
The Vikings finished 2016 with a 18-26 record and a fifth place finish in the MCL.
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