Recruiting Thursday: FR's Bertucci commits to Gannon baseball

Bertucci will help lead a strong crop of returners this spring at Franklin Regional

Thu Dec 14, 2023 - 3:59PM

Jack Ridenour Jack Ridenour

Last Updated: Sat Dec 16, 2023 - 1:52PM

Franklin Regional’s baseball season took a turn for the worse towards the end of last spring. After starting the year 11-3, the Panthers dropped five of their final six games, missing the playoffs.

Franklin Regional pitcher Blake Bertucci and his teammates have taken that downward spiral from last season and used it as motivation, particularly during their winter workouts. Despite the poor finish, he still managed to have a strong season that caught the attention of college coaches.

With offers from schools like Cal U, Pitt-Johnstown, Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia, and Gannon, Bertucci had options to pick from for his next stop in baseball. After acquiring the help of his recruiting coordinator, he narrowed the choice down to the final school he visited, Gannon University.

“It was by far my favorite campus,” the future Golden Knight noted. “I loved all three of the coaches and the city feel of the campus. I’m also able to carry on some of my hobbies up there, like fishing and hunting.”

Having the assistance of a recruiting coordinator helped Bertucci sift through his different options. It allowed him to understand the benefits each school had to offer, and look at the recruiting process from a different perspective.

He’s also excited to be coached by a great baseball mind. Head coach of the Golden Knights, DJ Cannon, has elevated the program’s status in the PSAC, including a regular-season West Division title in 2022.

“His past with baseball all around this area is great,” Bertucci added. “Knowing he has a young staff with him also, and he’s young, too, is nice because they can relate to you. They are still in the new baseball age, which is pretty cool.”

Now that his college recruitment is behind him, he can get back to focusing on his final season in high school. Bertucci has noticed a bigger sense of urgency from his Panthers teammates after their unfortunate finish to the spring season.

“That was a horrible feeling at the end of the year,” Bertucci mentioned. “We definitely should’ve been able to make playoffs. We just had to win one of those final four games and we were in.”

The winter workouts have proven to be a great way for his team to build chemistry with so many young players – several of whom saw significant time in the lineup during the spring.

With eight returners in the field coming back, Bertucci acknowledges that his team has set very high goals. And although the Panthers might be young, he knows that this is a talented team that also brings a lot of hunger with them into this season.

“I definitely say win the section; I think it’s very reasonable,” he said of the goals for Franklin Regional. “I truly think we have the most talent in 5A, so WPIAL championship isn’t out of reach. I know we might not have had the right season last year, but with so many returners coming back hungry, I don’t see why it’s not possible.”