Trinity Classical Academy baseball has had unprecedented success this postseason, making it all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 championship game, which will be against Fillmore at UC Riverside on Saturday. It’s the first title game in program history. The Knights are also on a 14-game win streak in their second-ever playoff appearance.
At the helm of it all is first-year head coach Mike Franchimone.
Q: What has the process of building a connection with the team in your first year as a coach been like?
A: I have other job duties at the school so I’m on campus all day and it allowed me to build a rapport with the kids at the lunchtime and that was a big help for me. I’m a people person and I’ve been doing it a long time, working with kids and youth and I was a coach … so I’ve always been that players’ coach and I have a great rapport with the kids. That’s just a gift that the Lord has blessed me with.
Q: What was your first impression of the team when you first joined the program?
A: They’re extremely coachable. And they were looking just for some leadership to fall under and you could tell that they were just ready to meet every expectation that I had for them. And they’ve done everything I have asked and they jumped over other hurdles for everything I’ve ever asked them to do. They’re a great group of kids, they’re humble, they’re coachable. The last four games have shown that they know how to dig deep.
Q: What made you decide to coach baseball?
A: I love the experience of the game. I love the variation of the game. So many scenarios in baseball that can play out. You just never know, you can never predict the next step, the next hit, the next play. It’s that unknown in the preparation that you do to be ready for any circumstance that’s going to come across. The same with life, you never know what’s going to be at the next turn and baseball is like that, you can’t expect anything. You have to be ready for anything.
Q: How has Trinity baseball’s playoff run affected the morale of the school?
A: The administration at our school is so sold out for the cause of the school and the education factor and sports. We’re a small school in a big, big pond. We’re a little out there, but the fan support, I’ve never seen anything like it. Bleachers at Master’s College full from top to bottom. And that was most of our families. And I know just the fan support and just believing in the kids and letting the kids know that they are there for them. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m so honored to be a part of it.
Q: How would you describe your coaching philosophy?
A: Everything is a lesson. Everything has a purpose. There’s a point to every philosophy that I teach. Situational coaching to everything I do on the field, I bring into life. What they’re going to deal with in this world and it’s got a lot of ups and downs. Life has a lot of ups and downs, but the bottom line is what you get out of it is what you put into it and it’s about creating an atmosphere, players exhorting each other, and that’s what I’m about. Building people up. Even though life circumstances are tough, you still have to see the positives in it.