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Wednesday, June 15, 2011
James Franklin hits the diamond Saturday

By Edward Aschoff

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is exchanging his playbook for a bat and glove Saturday.

The first year-coach will be playing in the 11th Annual Comcast Jeff Fisher & Friends Charity Softball Game. The event benefits the Nashville Children’s Alliance, Mercy Ministries, Catch-A-Dream, InterFACE Ministries, The American Freedom Foundation and several other local charities.

The first pitch is set for 7 p.m. in Nashville’s Greer Stadium.

“It’s a honor to be asked to participate in an event that recognizes Coach Fisher and also supports several local charities,” Franklin said. “It’s going to be fun. I’ll be ready to play, especially after watching Tim Corbin’s baseball team win in the College World Series earlier that afternoon.”

Don’t forget, the Commodores square off with North Carolina in the first round of the CWS at 2 p.m.

Franklin will be with a bevy of Nashville celebrities, including Tennessee Titans Cortland Finnegan and Marc Mariani and former Commodore Jovan Haye. A few former Titans will also be on hand, including Eddie George, Blaine Bishop, Brad Hopkins, Kevin Dyson and Chris Sanders.

Franklin will be quite the busy man on Saturday, as he will also be hosting the first Vanderbilt Future Stars Football Camp that is aimed at youngsters in grades 1-8. And for those planning to go, don’t fret, the camp ends just before the first pitch of Vanderbilt’s game with the Tar Heels out in Omaha, Neb.

I’ve met Franklin, and he seems to be in good shape these days. I know nothing about his baseball or softball background, but I’ll go on ahead and put his hits at over/under three and home run total at one. He’s the new guy on the block, so he’s got to make a statement early with his peers.