Francis brothers lead Chiles’ pitching

Francis brothers lead Chiles’ pitching

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Francis brothers lead Chiles’ pitching

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Chiles senior Bowden Francis takes an off day while the rest of his Timberwolves teammates finish afternoon practice. Francis, a 6-foot-5 pitcher, is playing with sophomore brother Harry for just the second time in their lives.

Chiles senior Bowden Francis takes an off day while the rest of his Timberwolves teammates finish afternoon practice. Francis, a 6-foot-5 pitcher, is playing with sophomore brother Harry for just the second time in their lives.

It’s an off day for Chiles senior Bowden Francis.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound right-handed pitcher took batting practice on a recent sunny day, but even that wasn’t needed since he’s made just five plate appearances all season.

Younger brother Harry Francis, however, is running, foul line to foul line. It’s only the second time the two brothers have played on the same baseball team.

“We’ve always played a lot of sports, and Harry played soccer and was a good quarterback in football, but we narrowed it down,” Bowden said. “Our dad said, ‘Be good at one, not average at four.’ We both chose baseball.”

Harry, a sophomore, had just pitched the night before in the first of two Chiles games against district foe Lincoln, and the Timberwolves escaped with an 8-7 victory with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Trojans star and FSU signee Tyler Holton hit two of his area-leading eight home runs in that game, including one off Harry.

Bowden, a Chipola Community College commit, would get the start in the next game, lining up opposite ace Holton, who ended up pitching a masterful game for a 3-1 win.

It’s been like that all season for Chiles, which was expecting Bowden atop its rotation but not Harry, the sophomore forced into the mix when Jake Taddeo and Samford signee Stephen Jones couldn’t pitch because of injury.

Yet Harry Francis is 5-1 this season with a 3.13 earned-run average, while Bowden Francis has been the hard-luck loser, turning in a 2-6 record despite a 1.63 ERA.

“Harry’s got some ability and we noticed that as a freshman, so we knew he’d be on varsity as a 10th grader, but we didn’t know he’d be that far up the chain,” Timberwolves coach Dick Steed said.

“I don’t think anyone would have predicted (the stats). They might have predicted the other way around. We’ve definitely had some fun with it. Bowden’s pitched well but just had some bad luck, and we didn’t score for him.”

The stats aren’t lost on either Francis, especially Harry who has been trying to one-up his older brother ever since they began playing sports. The only other time the two siblings played together was on Tallahassee’s Finest at Myers Park. Bowden was 12 and Harry was 10.

“I had the record for strikeouts in my last year, and then in his last year he beat my record,” Bowden said. “He’s always trailing behind me. My freshman year at Chiles, I had 83 strikeouts. He kept saying he was going to beat it. Freshman year, he got 83. It was a draw.”

Bowden says he is the playful one, always trying to get under the skin of his 6-foot-1, 180-pound brother, who is more serious. Yet Harry always looked up to Bowden, and does so even now, but he isn’t willing to relinquish his quest for sibling supremacy. That would go against his competitive nature.

“I was definitely a tag-along,” Harry said.

“He’s my older brother and my idol, so I just wanted to do what he did,” Harry said.

“Now I just try to break the records that he’s going for. I try to beat him at everything so I have bragging rights in the household. I like being in the lead, but it’d be nice if he had more wins also.”

Lincoln (13-8, 3-1 District 2-7A) enters the upcoming week’s district tournament as the top seed, thanks to a coin toss. That means second seed Chiles (12-10, 3-1) plays Leon (17-7, 0-4) in a Tuesday elimination game at Lincoln. Bowden Francis will get the start with the Timberwolves’ season on the line.

“Last year was a lot different and this year we’ve got a bunch of young guys who have to learn,” Bowden said. “It’s different being the senior, looking down. They learn a lot by watching.”

Bowden has tried to help Harry adjust to the varsity game, freely admitting to hard criticism and comments that Harry stoically rolls with.

Should Chiles get past its big elimination test, it will net a trip to the regional playoffs. And somewhere, Harry will get another start and a chance to further impress his older brother and maybe give both a dream ending to perhaps their final season of baseball together.

“It’s been a cool experience and it will help me become a better player and a better teammate for next year,” Harry said. “I just want to help us reach our ultimate goal of getting a state championship.”

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Francis brothers lead Chiles’ pitching

Bowden, Harry Francis have combined for seven victories this season.

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