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Wednesday, 20 July 2011 17:36

Franceschetti gaining new experiences with Indians

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Spencer Franceschetti’s shear determination to help his team and improve himself was on full display during the Swift Current Indians’ 6-3 home victory July 13.

After striking out in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Escalon, Calif., native ended up on third base thanks to Weyburn’s catch overthrowing the first baseman.

“Honestly, (that’s never happened to me before), but with baseball, just when you've seen it all, you see something new every day,” said the first-year Indian. “That's the way it is.”

Franceschetti, who finished his freshman season at San Joaquin Delta Junior College, was also deployed at third base for that game. It’s a position he’s not used to playing.

During high school, the five-foot-10, 175-pound infielder played shortstop. At college this year, he spent time playing second base and as a designated hitter for the California State Champion Mustangs.

In Swift Current, Franceschetti has been moved around, playing second base, shortstop and now third base. That, however, is exactly what he wants.

“I think I can play it all, but that's just a personal thing,” said Franceschetti, who has been struggling at the plate with a .175 batting average. “I drive myself to be that way. Honestly, there are some positions I've never played, but I go on full-steam ahead.”

Despite his struggles at the plate this season, Indians head coach Joe Carnahan is still quite high on his rookie infielder.

Carnahan knows it’s a big transition for a college freshman to come up to play in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL), but he believes teams are just starting to see the positives Franceschetti brings with him.

“He's got a good skill set and he's starting to make good contact now, he's just been a little unlucky,” said the Indians’ bench boss. “He's got a good glove, a strong arm and good speed and he's making adjustments at the plate and he's a good player.”

He is also a player the Indians could potentially build future teams around.

Based on rule changes coming to the WMBL next season, teams are only allowed three players who aren’t currently in college on their team, and those three players must be Canadian and younger than 26.

That puts a greater emphasis on young college players who want to come up to Canada to play baseball.

Not only has Franceschetti fallen in love with Swift Current and would like to return for more seasons, but he also likes the old school baseball featured in the WMBL.

“Honestly, I've never seen a league like this at home,” he said. “Here, you see a lot more people get tossed or get thrown at. It's kind of that old-school vibe.

“Nowadays, back in the States, if you throw at a guy you're automatically ejected, not that you want to throw at a guy. The game almost seems like it has softened up down there.

“This is a great town and I love it. I'd have a hard time finding a better place.”

As much as Franceschetti feels he has improved his personal game this summer with the Indians, he knows the team has to improve its ability to win games on the road.

Since the Tribe’s 6-3 home conquest of the Beavers July 13, they dropped a pair of games in Melville — 9-8 on July 15 and 4-2 on July 16. They then won 8-2 in Yorkton July 19, improving them to 6-10 on the road so far this season.

Swift Current have another game in Yorkton July 20 before returning home to face Regina July 21. The Tribe then head out for three more road games. They have a pair of games in Lethbridge July 22 and 23 before visiting Weyburn July 24.

The Indians close out their schedule at home with games against Weyburn July 27 and Moose Jaw
July 28. Both games start at 7:05 p.m.

Although the Indians (20-13) virtually have first place in the Central Division locked up, they know they have to win those games on the road to make sure Melville (18-18) doesn’t catch them in the standings should Swift Current cross over the East Division playoffs. If they fall behind Melville, then they won’t secure home advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Indians will have to catch up to Okotoks in the standings to get home advantage if they cross over the West Division playoffs.

Franceschetti said the team knows how important those road games are and they will do everything they can to secure the wins and clinch home advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“We need to go out and play each game one game at a time,” he said. “If we execute, then everything is going to be good. We've lost some tough ones on the road, but you'll see a valiant effort in these road games.”

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