The Future Of Franco

University of Arkansas baseball signee Franco Broyles took a few days off from his upper level summer team to get in the Arkansas High School All-Star games on Tuesday night.

University of Arkansas baseball signee Franco Broyles of Fayetteville still hasn't lost at Baum Stadium.

Or in a state title game for that matter.

Broyles stole a pair of bases and played stellar defense Tuesday night to help his West squad sweep both Arkansas High School All-Star baseball games.

That made him 5-0 in Baum Stadium, three of those wins coming in state title games – something he was part of winning four of during his career.

"It was fun getting back here and playing and I really enjoyed playing here at Baum Stadium," Broyles said. "I have a lot of great memories of this place and hope to have a lot more."

Broyles – the grandson of legendary UA athletic director Frank Broyles - joined future Razorback teammates DJ Baxendale (who will be his roommate) of Sylvan Hills and Hot Springs Lakeside's Ben Crumpton in playing in Tuesday night's doubleheader.

"I certainly know DJ and he is a great player, one that is ready right now to come in and play on the college level right away," Broyles said.

"This is the first time I have met Ben," Broyles added. "He is a great athlete that can run and field and hit and he has got a great swing. I was excited he was on this team and that I had a chance to get to know him. I was glad he was on my side and not DJ's."

Baxendale and Broyles faced each other earlier in the season with Baxendale fanning him twice, but then giving up a home run to Broyles later in the game.

On Tuesday night, Baxendale whiffed him twice again – although the second time Broyles reached base on a passed ball and promptly stole second.

Baxendale fanned seven and allowed just one hit and one run in his three-inning stint on the mound in the opening game.

He left with a 3-1 lead, only to see the West rally to win 8-7 and then win 8-5 in the nightcap.

"I feel like he is already ready to throw," Broyles said. "He was up there hitting 93 or 94 today. He looked really good. I need to get my level to where I can consistently hit that pitching.

"Looking at the pitchers at LSU and the other SEC places, I think that is the biggest step for me," Broyles added. "I have to rise to their level and I am confident I will." Broyles has been playing this summer for the Midwest Nationals, a team made up for current and future Division-I prospects.

He is playing all three outfield spots.

"It is going really well," Broyles said. "We have got a really good team. We are based out of Springfield, Missouri, but we have guys from Tulsa, Southern Missouri and Northwest Arkansas.

"You hear a lot about that league and it is a good league to play in for guys going D-1 and playing college baseball," Broyles said. "(Arkansas head baseball) Coach (Dave) Van Horn asked me to play in it and helped me get ready for next year. I think it has really done a good part of doing that.

"There are guys that are potential draft picks, a lot of D-I players that already in college," Broyles continued. "I think I have really improved being around that caliber of player."

He certainly had the good fortune of being a star player on Fayetteville's four state titles in as many years.

"I was lucky," Broyles said. "We had great coaching and great players and great depth all four years. It was phenomenal and I couldn't ask for anything more."

Fayetteville head coach Vance Arnold is happy he got a chance to coach Broyles.

"Franco just had a great career," Arnold said. "When he first came up he was surrounded by a lot of talented older players. He developed and matured like them. He had a hand in all of the state championships either defensively or offensively."

Arnold said is a quality player, but a quality kid as well.

"He is a great kid, very humble and loves the game," Arnold said. "He is a coaches dream to coach. I never had a problem with him and never thought about having a problem with him.

"He is known as an all-around player," Arnold added. "Arkansas is getting a great kid. He is not being signed because of his name, he is being signed because of his ability."

Broyles is excited about playing for the Razorbacks, especially after seeing his team at the College World Series.

"I didn't get to go because I was in Louisville playing," Broyles said. "But I had actually made it into the hotel right when (Brett) Eibner hit the home run (against Virginia). It was perfect timing. It was great hit and a great comeback by the Hogs. They showed a lot of heart and I thought that was really great."

Van Horn has told Broyles to come in and be prepared to play.

"Coach just told me to be ready and not be looking to redshirt," Broyles said. "He said be ready to play, come in and workout and work hard and perform to the best of your abilities."

Franco Broyles

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