Franklin High athletic director Tom Angelo announced last week that Katie Holbrook had been hired to fill the softball coaching vacancy created by Kate Fallon-Comeau’s move to rival King Philip. Holbrook is the owner of Brand New Ballgame, a baseball and softball training facility in Wrentham, and has coached club and showcase softball teams for more than a decade.
Holbrook was familiar with the Franklin program, community, and players from her role at Brand New Ballgame, and was excited about making the Panthers her first high school coaching role.
“Between them coming in for team practices or working in private practice or clinics with some of the kids, I’ve gotten a chance to really know them over the last six or seven years,” Holbrook said in a phone call this week. “I had a tie to Franklin and when Kate moved over I thought it’s a good, strong program, there’s a desire for strong leadership and I have a good tie to the community. It was the right place.”
She also noted that the familiarity with the players could make the transition easier. She said, “They know who I am at least by reputation, so I think that’s helpful. They know I care about Franklin, that I know about softball, and that I do this day-in, day-out. So, I think the buy-in period may be a little shorter for me than maybe someone else who was new to things.”
Holbrook played varsity softball for four years at Brockton High and also played several years in college at Bridgewater State. In addition to running her Wrentham facility, she has run and coached the BNB Hornets club program. The Hornets merged this year with the Hockomock Rox to create the BNB Rox. Also coaching in that program are Franklin JV coach Jenna Dicruttalo and Sharon head coach Heather Poliferno.
“In the club environment, you get them year round but you only get them maybe once or twice a week,” Holbrook explained. “We definitely make gains within that but I always felt within a high school season having them for a condensed period of time, but for a lot of time during that period, that a lot of growth can be made.”
The Panthers finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last season, just one game behind Taunton, and reached the D1 South quarterfinal before losing to Bishop Feehan by a run. Holbrook is excited about the challenge of coaching in the Hockomock League.
“There’s definitely some strong competition and we’ll have to be on top of our game,” she said. “I always said as an athlete, to be the best you have to play and train with the best, so I think when you have tough competition it makes you a better player and when you have success it makes it all the more sweet because you really had to work for it.”