When Ramos first came to Frankford, he couldn’t fluently speak English. That didn’t stop him from becoming a standout pitcher.
It’s not easy going to a new school.
It’s even harder when most of the people at your new school can’t understand what you’re saying.
That was the situation Luis Ramos experienced last year when he transferred to Frankford High School before his sophomore year.
Ramos was born in Puerto Rico and spent a few years in Florida before moving to Juniata in the fall of 2016. He enrolled at Frankford and took English as a second language, but since he spoke almost no English, it was still a struggle.
It wasn’t something he struggled with long.
“I had so much help, but I was lucky to have my mom, my aunt and all the teachers at Frankford,” said Ramos, now a junior. “I also had so much help from my coach and teammates on the baseball team. Anyone who could help me did. They all taught me so much.”
His coach is Juan Namnun, and just as he does when he’s coaching baseball, he expects results. So when Namnun was helping Ramos learn the language, he was there to help, but he made sure Ramos got better every day.
“We have a rule on the team that we speak English, it doesn’t start right away, you have to give them time to learn, but he had to learn,” Namnun said. “You have to learn because we’re learning for college. So I made sure he spoke English, we talked every day on the phone. We made sure he was talking because that’s how you learn.”
Ramos is now fluent in English. In fact, if he didn’t tell you it wasn’t his first language, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
His English is going almost as well as his baseball career.
Ramos is a pitcher by trade, but when he’s not on the mound, he patrols the outfield for the Pioneers. When he is on the mound, Frankford is winning
After finishing 5–0 last year when the Pioneers won the Public League championship and the city championship and won a game in the 6A state playoffs, he picked up right where he left off. Thus far, he has two wins, both complete games, and an ERA under 1.00.
He’s been just as productive at the plate, hitting five doubles and a home run after five games.
“His pitching is great, but offensively, he’s destroying the ball,” Namnun said. “He was a good hitter last year, but this year he’s bigger and stronger. He’s a better hitter because of that. And his pitching has been lights out. He’s really another special player that I’ve been lucky enough to coach. He’s the real deal.”
As Ramos rolls, so do the Pioneers.
After last year’s special season, Frankford is again undefeated in Public League play, and that’s despite two games against Olney and two more against Abraham Lincoln, which boasts a talented team this year.
That start is exactly what Ramos was hoping for to carry last year’s momentum into this season.
“This year has been very good, I feel like we’re getting better every day,” Ramos said. “We play hard. My teammates, they’re very good. They play so hard. I love how they play. It makes me play better when they play so well.
“Everyone is so happy because of the way we’re playing. It’s the same way we played last year. We just try to get better every time we play. And we treat practice the same way we treat when we have games.”
That attitude served them well last year when they hung two banners and upset Neshaminy in the state playoffs. That run was especially satisfying for Ramos, who has been playing baseball his entire life, but still found it to be a unique experience.
“I never played in anything like the playoffs, it was so much fun,” Ramos said. “Every game, we would win and just get more and more excited. Every time we won, everyone was so happy.”
Ramos still has two years at Frankford, although he has already drawn the interest of some professional scouts. And while he hopes baseball is in his future, he’s still working hard in the classroom.
“My wife is known as one of the toughest teachers in Frankford, and he’s doing great in her class,” Namnun said. “He’s a very intelligent kid, but he works at things. He works hard in baseball and he works hard in school. He’s a special young man.”
He’s also humble. While Ramos is quick to brag, it’s always about those around him and never about himself.
“I’ve been very lucky that people help me get better in everything,” Ramos said. “My mom and my aunt help me a lot. My coaches and teachers help me a lot, and my teammates are the best. They help me every day. I wouldn’t be doing so good if it wasn’t for all of them. They deserve the credit.”