After coming off spring break with a loss to North Florida Christian, the Franklin County girls softball team got its groove back, with wins over Class 8A Leon and Class 5A Marianna.

Coach Scott Collins blamed himself for the March 28 away loss to Class 3A North Florida Christian, in which the team fell 6-2.

“We didn't play well in this game and I have to take the blame for scheduling it the Tuesday after spring break,” said Collins.

Taking the loss was senior Megan Collins, who hurled six innings, giving up nine this and four earned runs, walking one and striking out one.

Sophomore Alexus Johnson went 1 for 3, with a double, and scored a run. Senior Adriana Butler and freshman Jaylin Charles each went 1 for 3.

On March 29, at home, Franklin County dominated Leon 14-4.

“Every player had at least one hit and we scored in every inning,” said the coach. “We were still a little rusty on defense, but we played with more grit than we did on Tuesday.

Megan Collins hurled the opening four innings, giving up two runs, one of them earned, and allowing two hits, striking our four and walking one. In two innings of relief, Charles allowed two unearned runs, and two hits.

Sophomore Melanie Collins was a perfect 4 for 4, scoring four runs, and driving in two. Freshman Rosie Davis went 2 for 2 and scored a run, while senior Allie Kirvin was 2 for 3, driving in a run, scoring two, and once hit by a pitch.

Sophomore Sophia Kirvin was 2 for 4, scoring a run and driving in two. Senior Scout Segree went 2 for 5, 1scoring a run and driving in three. Butler, Johnson, Charles, Megan Collins and junior Madison Smith all had one hit each.

In an away game March 30, the girls edged Marianna 2-1 in a classic pitchers’ duel.

Marianna scored their first and only run of the game in the fourth inning with back-to-back bunt singles, their only two hits of the game. Franklin County had threatened, but had no runs going into the top of the sixth.

Sophia Kirvin led the inning off with a single to right field, and Segree bunted her to second base. Pinch runner Brooklyn O'Neal, a seventh grader, came in to run for Kirvin. Johnson hit a hard ground ball to third base that couldn't be handled and O'Neal scored from second.

In the top of the seventh, with the scored tied 1-1, Butler led off the inning with her third base hit of the night. Junior Michaela Cassidy sacrifice bunted her to second base. Smith singled and Melanie Collins was walked. Sophia Kirvin then lined a one out bases-loaded single to left field and scored Butler and take a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, pitcher Megan Collins retired Marianna in order with three consecutive fly balls to end the game. She upped her record to 11-4, hurling all seven innings, giving up one earned run, allowing one hit, and striking out two and walking two.

Butler was a perfect 3 for 3, scoring a run, while Sophia Kirvin was 2 for 4, with a game-winning RBI. Smith, Charles and Melanie Collins had one hit each. O'Neal scored the game tying run.

"This was a pitcher's duel, just like the first time we played them,” said Scott Collins. “The Marianna pitcher was able to work out of a couple of jams early, but our girls kept battling with smart at-bats and a couple of clutch hits to win it at the end.

“I was proud of the girls because it was a total team effort, with errorless defense, outstanding baserunning and perfect bunt execution,” he said. “Hopefully we are beginning to peak at the right time."

The team played Bozeman Tuesday night in a game to probably determine the number 1 seed in the district tournament. On Thursday, April 6 the team hosts Wakulla at 6 p.m., and on Friday, hosts Vernon in a doubleheader at 5 and 7. p.m.

Along with O’Neal, eighth grader Abby Johnson has moved up from the middle school team, making a total of 13 players. “They will help us on the bases and in the outfield,” said the coach.