Callahan’s bomb helps Coyotes win again

Seniors on the Franklin Towne Charter High School didn’t have to work hard at teamwork at all this year, because they were already a family.

Lauren Esposito (third from right) celebrates with her seniors on the Franklin Towne Charter softball team after the Coyotes defeated Central 6–4 in the Public League championship game. PHOTO: LAURA ESPOSITO

Alyssa Callahan wasn’t showing off for her dad.

She was just showing him what she can do.

Callahan is a senior second baseman on the Franklin Towne Charter High School softball team and because her dad works when the Coyotes play, he was never able to make it to her games on time. Last Wednesday, he made it to La Salle University, where the Coyotes were deadlocked in the fifth inning with Central.

One swing turned the tie into a championship.

“As soon as my dad got there, the first pitch, I hit it to dead center field,” Callahan said of her fifth-inning blast. “I knew I got it right off the bat, but I didn’t know it was a home run until I got to first base, but I could hear everyone screaming.”

Final score: Franklin Towne Charter 6, Central 4. The Coyotes repeated as Public League champions, and the small celebration Callahan and her teammates had at home plate after the home run turned into an all-out party once Franklin Towne Charter recorded the final six outs of the game.

“This year, I’ve gotten a lot better at hitting because we work on it a lot,” Callahan said. “Last year, I hit seventh, and we had all but one player back so I started out hitting sixth. Then I started doing better, and they moved me to first. Then I really started doing better, and they moved me to third.”

The new lineup worked, but in reality everything Franklin Towne Charter coach Lauren Esposito did worked. The team ran roughshod through the Public League, and more than two months after the season began, the Coyotes remain undefeated heading into the state playoffs.

Franklin Towne will meet Archbishop Wood for the Class 5A city championship at Arcadia University on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

“The Public League championship was our goal because that’s always our goal,” said Callahan, a Mayfair resident. “Now it’s the city championship. We want to win our next game. I think the state playoffs will be a goal once we get there, but now we’re more worried about winning the city championship.”

The Coyotes didn’t spend much time worrying this year.

The season wasn’t perfect. At times, the hitting wasn’t always clutch, but the Coyotes always did the little things that kept them in games.

“Our defense was very good,” said Esposito, who has won a championship in both of her seasons as head coach. “We had a few games where our hitters were really struggling. But we made plays. And today, Alyssa made four great plays at second before she hit the home run. She had a great game.”

For Callahan, the Public League championship was special because it is the last one she’ll get while representing Franklin Towne.

She won a title last year in softball and during the fall, she helped the Coyotes bring home a field hockey crown.

“I play three sports, and we won in two of them but this is definitely the best one,” Callahan said. “I think this is the best one because we have all been playing together for four years and we’re all very close. This is our last time playing together, and we don’t know if we’ll ever play together, so you want to go out on top.”

Callahan is close with all of her teammates, but she’s formed quite a bond with longtime varsity players Skyler Petroski, Michelle Slaughter and Marissa Kubis. Next year, Callahan will attend Penn State Altoona, where she’ll be with Kubis and Petroski, so there’s a chance the three will play together again. But Callahan isn’t sure she’ll play sports, so this could be her swan song.

If it is, she’s quite happy with the end result.

“We played well for each other this year,” Callahan said. “We made plays and we had great chemistry. We didn’t have to work too hard on it because we all played together last year. This year, we just had to go out and play together.”

Callahan will miss representing Franklin Towne Charter.

Even more so, she’ll miss the school.

When she walked into the school four years ago, the only person in the school she knew was her brother, Stephen Callahan. She’s come a long way in that department.

“I’m going to miss it so much because I made so many friends in all three sports and just around school,” Callahan said. “Field hockey was my main sport. In basketball, I played the bench, but I kept playing because I loved it and I wanted to stay in shape. Now I’m done, I’m really going to miss it.

“I’ll come back to watch when I have time. I love the coaches. It’s really like family. And it’s nice to win together.” ••