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FRANKLIN – It has been a rigorous climb up the national prospect rankings for Franklin Community’s Max Clark.

“When I first debuted at like number seven and number six, I was just like, ‘how can I get to five?'”, Clark remembers. “How can I get to four, three, two?”

And then, on Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, among other recruiting services, he finally hit number one.

“Growing up, this was a dream to me,” he continued.

In addition to FC, Clark has played, and starred, on the national circuit with Indiana Bulls as well as the international circuit playing with USA Baseball’s U18 squad, winning a gold medal in the WBSC U-18 World Cup. Wherever he goes, he keeps Indiana, and Franklin, close.

“Tons of support,” Clark smiles. “You get into the summer, the entire state has your back, so there’s no other place I’d rather be than Franklin Community.”

It’s just that – the community – that makes his ascent more rewarding. Clark had prep schools in other, more “traditional” baseball states like Florida and Georgia calling for his services, but none of them could pull the central Indiana slugger away from home.

“It was never about going to a really good baseball school,” he explains. “It was about representing your town, your city, your school, your community, your friends.”

“I have a seven-year-old that wears eye black from his chin to his eyes (like Max),” says Franklin Community head coach Ryan Feyerabend. “He takes the pine tar all over his bat. He’s definitely leaving a lasting impression on a lotta youngsters around here.”

The list of Franklin Community players to play NCAA baseball is a fairly lengthy one. Clark certainly has that opportunity, as even before his freshman year, he committed to Vanderbilt, one of the top Division I baseball programs in the country. Still, the possibility exists that he’ll turn pro instead.

“As of now, I swear, it’s the hardest decision to ever make,” says Clark.

High school prospects are often selected in the MLB Draft, which begins July 9 this year. After their selection, they must choose between heading to the pros or packing up for college. Either way, Clark will certainly be one of the first names called, and he’ll celebrate that day with the community that’s helped forge him, back here at home.

“I’ve been blessed, not only in this community, but the entire state of Indiana throughout this entire process,” Clark says.

“It’s far from over, that’s for sure, but I’m excited to see where the next step is.”