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All-Mid-Valley baseball: Rodriguez top player

Rodriguez helped deliver a title to Kennedy


1:00 AM, Jun. 19, 2012 EDT

Franky Rodriguez helped Kennedy with a state title. / TIMOTHY J. GONZALEZ | Statesman Journal

On the field, Franky Rodriguez is tough and durable, a leader in every sense of the word.

"He's the mentally toughest kid I've coached, he has that it quality," Kennedy coach Kevin Moffatt said. "Nothing gets to him and when he is our emotional leader it helps the other guys."

"People view me as the pumped up and energetic guy, that's just the way I like to lead and hopefully it rubs off on others," Rodriguez said.

Off the field, at school and in the community, he brings the same energy. "Everyone gravitates toward him," Moffatt said.

This type of leadership is what the Trojans needed from their star senior, the Statesman Journal All-Mid-Valley baseball player of the year, as they entered the 2012 season with a lot of question marks and without the greatest of expectations.

But Rodriguez, who was also the Tri-River player of the year and the Class 2A/1A State co-player of the year, helped lead Kennedy to its first state championship, a win that not only meant a lot to the baseball program, but to the school and its community.

Coming into the season, Rodriguez admits expectations weren't high. The Trojans lost a lot of key players from the previous season and had unproven underclassmen making up a large part of the roster.

"We really just wanted to make the playoffs," Rodriguez said.

But Kennedy started the season strong and once the wins starting piling up, Rodriguez knew that this team could be special.

"We won a spring break tournament and then won a tough league," Rodriguez said. "And once we started winning, we started gaining confidence."

Playoff wins against Union/Cove, Stanfield/Echo and Knappa propelled Kennedy into the championship game against Weston-McEwen, a team the Trojans defeated during their early-season tournament.

Rodriguez, throwing on two days' rest, went all seven innings to lead Kennedy to its first baseball title.

And as Moffatt points out, it was much more than just a title.

"For the program, it was huge. We understood it was time to make that jump; if we weren't going to win now then when could we?" Moffatt said.

But it also provided a spark for the school.

"It was a shot in the arm for the high school," Moffatt said. "Facing budgets cuts and other struggles, this was the sort of thing needed around here."

And if there was one player that was going to provide the program, school and community with a boost, it was going to be Rodriguez.

"Franky was the kid to do it," Moffatt said.

While much was expected of Rodriguez from others, he looked at it differently.

"I don't really set goals," Rodriguez said.

"I just go out and play the best I can and try to lead my teammates by showing what I could do on the field."

And as typically comes along with a successful season like the one Kennedy experienced, Rodriguez made a point that he didn't do it on his own.

"The nice part was I didn't feel like I had to carry the team. Others stepped up," Rodriguez said.

"Guys like Sam [Moreno] and Gavin Schuman were big for us this," he said.

"And the coaching staff led us, they were always there for us," Rodriguez said.

"This year was special not only because of the success but because of the time I had with players and coaches. We were all close."

Rodriguez, who finished the season 12-1 on the mound this season and hit .450, will play baseball for Chemeketa next year.

 

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