At last count, which admittedly was quite a while ago – the 2010 census – Franklin Springs was at less than 1,000 in total population.
No matter what it is today, the city – about 20 miles north of Athens – just grew by one. Or rather it will when Daniel Hawthorne arrives on scene.
The Veterans High School student-athlete will via the scholarship he was offered and signed at the school May 17.
“It’s definitely the best baseball that was offered to me,” he said. The Lions finished 24-26 this past season, which included going 2-2 in the NCAA South Region tourney. The lefty also helped the Warhawks finish the season 27-11, which included winning the Region 1-AAAAA championship at 11-1 and earning a berth in the GHSA Class AAAAA where they made it to the Elite Eight before falling to Flowery Branch. “I was offered a starting position as well,” he continued. “I mean it just felt right. It felt like a place I could call home. So me and my family, we just felt real comfortable with it, and I’m just so happy it fell together.”
Scouting-wise, one of the things Hawthorne said the pitching coach liked about his game was the way he carried himself on and off the field. “He liked how I could overcome a bad pitch and then come back and strike the next hitter out,” he said. “He liked that I didn’t let my emotion get to me. He liked that I kept myself composed and was always looking forward and was focused.”
The one thing needful, Hawthorne said – he has been playing baseball since he was 4 – was to put weight on – for power and pitching. That’ll come this summer, he said, as the coach was sending him a weight program.
“We’re going to get started early (with it),” he said.
Hawthorne said he planned on majoring in physical therapy/sports science, with the hope of being a coach one day.
He is, said Head Coach David Coffey, “a testament to what hard work can accomplish. Persevering and staying with things. We’re expecting big things from him in the future.”