Many people decide to move away from home after graduating high school, but for Grant Francis, Clark College was a “perfect fit”. Francis signed with the Penguins baseball team in May of 2018 and hasn’t looked back since, “I really enjoy going to Clark, it’s been a lot of fun” he said.
Francis loves being at Clark because he has his friends, family and baseball nearby. It wasn’t easy for him to stay home though, he had to give up on his dreams of playing football. Francis played on Mountain View’s varsity football team three of his four years there. He also played on the school’s baseball team, was a four-year starter and received all-league honors in 2018. Francis knew his love for baseball was greater than that for football and that’s what ultimately drew him to the Penguins, “I thought it would be a better fit [playing baseball], I just didn’t want to kill my body [playing football]” Francis said.
Not only does Francis enjoy the sport he’s playing, but he also loves the team he has around him. “We’re a gritty bunch who likes to get after it,” he said. When asked what his favorite memory with the team was so far, Francis said: “just anytime I’m around the guys, it’s a great time”.
Teammate Ryder Lundahl, who is in his first season with the Penguins, said his favorite memory with the team so far was meeting Francis. Lundahl is one of Clark’s players who’s not from Vancouver. He’s originally from Utah and says he’s enjoyed his time away from home so far, “It’s definitely different, there’s a lot of snow where I’m from so it’s nice not having to deal with that here”.
Francis says he loves having such a diverse group, he even takes time to show them around the Vancouver and Portland area. “It’s pretty cool, you learn a lot just by being around guys from a different place,” he added.
I asked another teammate, Jeremy Martin, a second season teammate, to describe Francis in one word. Martin said, “Cheesehead,” “He’s like swiss cheese; he’s got holes, he’ll do what he wants, but he keeps it intact. He’ll stay on top of his stuff, but he’s swiss cheese so he likes to have fun”. Martin is the latest Penguin to move on to a four-year program. He recently signed his letter of intent to attend Concordia University.
Now entering his second go-around with the team, Francis says their eyes are set on a playoff berth. “We want to make the playoffs and see what we can do from there.”
Clark’s baseball coach, Mark Magdaleno, has had 39 players move on to four-year universities during his four years with the Penguins. Francis hopes to add to that total, “my goal is to graduate with my AA and find a four-year to play at”. It seems Francis came to the right place.