A lot on his plate

By Joe Mason

Josh Pagan has a lot on his plate.

The Frankford High School senior is a two-sport star. In the winter, he’s a wrestler, and in the spring, he competes in his main sport, baseball.

Athletics take up a lot of his time, but when he’s not leading the Pioneers on the diamond, he’s leading the students in school, where he’s the senior class president, and the president of the National Honor Society.

Having a ball: After making All-Public as a junior, Josh Pagan returns to Frankford for his senior season. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

Those extracurricular activities are quite time consuming, and while he takes all of them very seriously, his biggest responsibility is his son, Josh.

“I had a son when I was in eighth grade, so I knew I had to take responsibility for him,” the All-Public catcher said. “I knew after I had him, my entire life changed, and I had to be a good dad. I’m working on it now.”

To make sure he has the financial means to be a good dad, Pagan got a job at Wal-Mart. Every day after school and baseball, he heads up to work before rushing home to get some study time in.

“I usually get home around 11 and start to study,” the Frankford resident said. “Last year, I lived with my mom, who I love, but we decided I would move out and live with my fiancee (Melanie). So now I’m living with her, and she really helps me stay focused. Whenever I start to get overwhelmed, she helps me.”

With such a heavy load of responsibility, it would be easy for Pagan to get overwhelmed, but he’s done a masterful job of keeping it all together.

He ranks second in his senior class, and while he’s one of the best baseball players in the Public League, his leadership skills are what make him such an asset to the Pioneers baseball team.

It helps that he loves everything about the place where he serves as a leader.

“I wanted to be president and represent the National Honor Society because I love everything about Frankford,” Pagan said. “I love the school, and I like being a leader. It’s not something I’ve always liked, but I grew into it, and now I love doing it. I want to be the guy the other kids look up to. I want to be a leader in school and in baseball.”

He’s more than a leader in baseball.

Last year, he was among the best players in the Public League and helped the Pioneers advance to the Public League championship before falling to Olney.

That motivates him to win a championship before he leaves, not only because he wants to experience the thrill of winning, but because he wants to be the next great player in a long line of Frankford players.

“I’ve gotten to meet guys like Ramon Reyes, who was a great leader and a great catcher at Frankford, during one of our fundraisers,” Pagan said. “The fundraiser is great because we get to help raise money for things, but we also get to meet great guys, guys who played here. Ramon has become a friend.

Here’s the pitch: Josh Pagan not only excels on the field, he’s also ranked No. 2 in the senior class and is class president. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

“I know how people looked at him. He’s a great guy. Those Frankford guys did so much. They won and they did so much for the school. I want to do what they did.”

He is, according to his coach.

“He’s come such a far way, he’s a very special player, and you know that just by talking to him,” said Frankford coach Juan Namnun. “We’ve had some special players and if you talk to him for a minute, you’ll see how special he is.

“It’s great to have a player like that at any position, but it really helps to have a player like that at catcher. We have had a lot of great captains, and he’s the next great captain at Frankford.”

Pagan has high hopes this year, but he’s also looking beyond baseball.

He hasn’t picked a college yet, but he’s been accepted to every school he’s applied to. Ivy League schools are starting to show interest.

As for a major, he has his son to thank for helping him select one.

“I want to go to school and eventually become a pediatrician,” Pagan said. “I want to help children and help people feel better. I love biology and I love children, so I think it’s a great job.”

Being a doctor isn’t easy, and Pagan knows that.

He also knows becoming a doctor will take time, which means he could continue to struggle.

With his fiancee’s help, he’s up to the challenge.

“I really want to do well because it will help me with my son and help me in life,” Pagan said. “I’m working hard at becoming a complete baseball player and I’m working hard at becoming successful in school.

“My days are long, I usually get up early and I get home around 11 (p.m.), but it’s all worth it. I have time to study, I have time to work and I have time to play baseball. As long as I keep taking it one day at a time and working hard, I know I can do it. And then I’ll see what happens next year.” ••

Joe Mason can be reached at 215–354–3035 or jmason@bsmphilly.com