An underdog Franklin County squad, qualifying as a runner-up for the state tournament in Sebring this past weekend, proved everyone wrong, and emerged as the state champion
For the AA boys, for ages 6-8, it was a dream come true, on the strength of sweeping all their games but one. The boys were honored Wednesday afternoon on their way home, with a complete police escort through the county for their Dixie Youth League state title
“This was one of the best experiences of my life,” said coach Willie McNair, Jr, who works with assistants Lloyd Alford, Tyler Poloronis and Ronnie Joseph.
“The kids played hard, they didn’t give up. It was hot and both teams played amazing,” he said. “It was a battle to the end. I never coached played or seen any other game in my life as amazing as this last game.”
On Tuesday, the boys came in undefeated, and faced off against Port St. Joe in the opener. They lost it 13-12, with the Sportsmanship Award going to #80 Aydn Carter.
St. Joe still had to win the second game, and that game was tied at 13-all in the bottom of the sixth, with Franklin County getting last ups.
With #21 catcher Jaxson Odom on first, and #1 pitching mound Sadiq Jones on second, #3 left fielder Chaseon Martina came to bat with two outs, and facing two strikes.
Martina hit a ball in the hole between first and second, it bounced into right field, and Jones scored to seal a 14--13 victory.
Named Most Valuable Player for that game was #23 right-center fielder Dre'Kyln North.
On Saturday morning, the boys opened by downing Holmes County, with #7 third baseman Kayden Drake named MVP.
Later that day, it was a 13-0 shutout of Liberty County, with #45 right field Jordan Shiver named MVP.
The Saturday evening game against Shalimar was delayed by rain, with Franklin County ahead 7-4 in the third inning.
On Sunday morning, the boys added five more runs and won 12-5, with Sadiq Jones named MVP.
Later that day, Franklin County edged Port St Joe 11-9, with Odom named MVP.
After that it was a 16-1 trouncing of Fort Meade, with #27 second baseman Nolan Alford named MVP, especially exciting since it was his birthday.
On Monday morning the boys downed Ft. Meade 12-6, with Martina named MVP, and then edged Port St. Joe 15-13, with #4 first baseman Bennett McNair named MVP.
Also seeing action was #10 shortstop Karcen Poloronis, #6 left fielder Rylan Wood, and #38 utility man Kobe Joseph.
On the first day, Drake took first place in the tourney’s speed competition, with a time of 13:42 to run the bases.