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Former Bulldog inducted into Warriors Hall of Fame
Franksen led Stanislaus to new heights
Meghan Franksen played a significant role in leading the 2007 Warriors to their first-ever NCAA Division-II World Series appearance, West Region title and 50-win season. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

Meghan Franksen never set out to become one of Cal State Stanislaus' all-time greatest softball players.

The 2005 Ceres High grad/former star shortstop was inducted into the Warriors' Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb. 6.

"I knew they had a Hall of Fame," Franksen said. "But that's not what you play for. I was always trying to be the best for my team and myself. That's the mentality I had my entire career."

The Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony was staged during Homecoming Week and Alumni Weekend.

Franksen and four other inductees were honored at a luncheon inside the Main Dining Hall.

They were also introduced to the public at halftime of the Stanislaus-East Bay men's basketball game.

"The ceremony was really cool," Franksen said. "I felt lucky. It was a very humbling experience. It was a nice way to celebrate the success I had, thank all of the people who helped me along the way and wrap up my career. It was an incredible day. My whole family was able to come. I got a little choked up while speaking."

Meghan's parents, Cliff and Kim, and four siblings attended the once-in-a-lifetime event, along with husband Jimmy Breeze, a 2003 Ceres High grad, former Bulldog basketball coaches Shawna Nunes and Phil de la Porte, and former teammates Heather Mazza (CHS), Jessica Mazza (CHS), Jennifer Arnold (CHS/Stanislaus), Jessica Gaumnitz (Stanislaus) and Sarah Shamblin (Stanislaus).

"I have to thank both of my parents for all the support and sacrifices they made," Franksen said. "The expectations they (Nunes and de la Porte) set for me always pushed me to go above and beyond. That transferred over to softball. My husband Jimmy, especially during my collegiate career, was my number one supporter and always put my softball career ahead of himself. He traveled all over to watch me play and spent countless hours throwing me BP. There was a lot I went through personally during that time, and I would have not been able to get through it without him. He was a huge part of my success during college and was the only one who supported me all the way through."

Franksen received an unexpected phone call from Stanislaus Director of Athletics Michael Matoso several months leading up to the Hall of Fame ceremony. Meghan was notified of her induction on Nov. 13.

"It came out of nowhere," she said. "I was in Seattle with my husband when he called me. It was a surreal moment. He didn't know it was my birthday. It was a nice surprise."

Franksen starred in softball at Stanislaus from 2006-2009.

She set 12 career and single-season offensive records.

Franksen became the Warriors' career record holder in home runs (34), total bases (417), runs batted in (148), doubles (51), hits (240), runs (158) and slugging percentage (.578).

She holds five single season records: homers (11), total bases (118), RBIs (51), doubles (19) and runs (53).

Meghan was named to the NFCA All-Region Team three times and All-CCAA Team four times. She was voted 2006 CCAA Freshman of the Year.

Franksen, Arnold and fellow Ceres High grad Omaira Estremera played significant roles in leading the 2007 Warriors to their first-ever NCAA Division-II World Series appearance, West Region title and 50-win season.

"That whole experience was so awesome," Franksen said. "It was a special year. We were so close. We all got along on and off the field. We just wanted to win. Everybody had that mentality."

Franksen accepted a scholarship to play Division-I softball at Kent State University prior to signing with Cal State Stanislaus.

"Staying local was the best decision I could have made," she said. "I fell in love with the game all over again. It was the best time I had playing softball. I was around high-caliber athletes that pushed me every day. We just weren't teammates. We were friends. Even now, we still keep in touch. We're all having babies."

Franksen was a three-sport athlete at Ceres High. She earned 12 varsity letters, including four in softball, basketball and volleyball.

A four-year starter in softball, Meghan guided the Bulldogs to three league championships, including the inaugural Modesto Metro Conference title in 2005, and four playoff appearances.

Meghan garnered first-team, all-league honors every season.

Franksen committed just seven errors at shortstop in three years. She started in right field as a freshman.

"It's pretty cool to be considered a great," Franksen said. "I was blessed with God-given talent. I worked hard and strived to be the best. The shortstop position, you got to be a leader. There was pressure playing varsity all four years. But it wasn't a negative thing. It pushed me to show everybody I was supposed to be there. You're out there to win and that's what matters the most."

Mehgan was known for her defensive prowess in basketball. The second-team, all-MMC selection helped lead Ceres High to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II crown her senior year.

Franksen and the Bulldogs participated in the playoffs all four years.

She joined Ceres High's volleyball team during her freshman year.

The first two seasons, the Bulldogs compiled a combined 8-28 record in conference play. The last two years, they went 16-17 in league.

Franksen and Ceres High made history when they secured a berth in the postseason for the first time in five years in 2004-05.

Franksen, a first-team, all-MMC selection, led the Bulldogs to an upset win over Monticello Empire League champion Benicia High School in the opening round of the playoffs.

Ceres also beat Beyer, the MMC champion, during the regular season.

Meghan also won the Ceres High Principal's Cup.

The award, which is voted on by faculty, teachers and staff, goes to the best overall student. Academic and athletic performance were both taken into account.

"I was extremely competitive in everything," Franksen said. "But a lot of it was with myself. Even if I went 3-for-4, it wasn't good enough. You have to never be satisfied. You have to be able to handle the pressure and excel. You have to be humble along the way. I played softball year round since I was eight years old. Whenever I got on the field, I came alive as a person and player. I always wanted to win. When I lost, I was mad."

Meghan and Jimmy will celebrate son Maverick's second birthday on Thursday.

They'll welcome their second child, a girl, into this world in October.

"I miss the game every day," Franksen said. "It was such a big part of who I was. It shaped me into the person I am today. I can't wait until I get to watch my kids play. I'm excited for that."