By Jacob Peterson
Santa Ana College righty Tori Franks has come out of a two-year hiatus to lead the Dons softball team into the playoffs.
“It wasn’t easy to get to the point I’m at,” Franks said.“Things were never handed to me and a lot of
people didn’t even think I’d be in this position.”
She led the conference with 26 wins, while posting a 2.14 ERA, including round one of playoffs. She pitched over 200 innings, appearing in all but one game for the Dons.
But her success this season has been anything but a foregone conclusion. She didn’t play a true season of high school ball and hasn’t played on an organized team in over two years.
“I moved out here from Arizona and I was new, getting to know the area. I had options but I also had a wrist injury,” Franks said.
The time off hasn’t slowed her down. Softball has basically been in her life since birth, so she wasn’t about to let a little rust corrode her chance at playing college ball.
After allowing nine hits and nine earned runs during a January start against Mt. San Antonio College, Franks has been unhittable.
Her competitiveness and erratic pitching style have left opposing hitters with an uneasy feeling in the batter’s box.
Watching Franks throw is like watching a pit crew working on a car during a race. Her motion is organized chaos.
She leans back, jolts forward into her delivery, slapping her thigh with her pitching hand, and then continues through her herky-jerky motion toward the plate. The bizarre movements seem unnecessary but purposeful at the same time.
Franks also takes advantage of having former world-class pitcher Susie Parra as a coach. She considers
Parra to be her first “real” pitching coach and credits the former Olympian with honing her skills.
“Franks is a great competitor,” Parra said. “She attacks the game the right way and she’s willing to work.”