The Darlings, girls age 7-8, finished second at districts and so won't be headed to state

On Saturday, June 16, the girls won 13-10 over Port St. Joe, after pulling away in their last at-bats.

In the top of the fifth St. Joe pulled within three, and had bases loaded no one out, when a triple play by Lilah Millender ended it. “It was a nail biter right down to the end,” said Dusty Mallon, assistant coach along with Garret Dearinger, and Gabe Lockley. Head coach is JP Paul.

Players include Shasta Butler, Addie Paul, Lilah Millender, Saria McNair, Allie Dearinger, Addison Mallon, Aubrey Turner, Jada Lockley, Jayla Creamer, Madison Martina, Madelyn Paul and Jaylen Allen.

Mallon, Millender and McNair pitched the opener.

In the late game, the Franklin County girls got warmed up and came out crushing the ball, winning 21-0 against Sneads.

On Monday, they faced undefeated Blountstown and lost a tough one 3-1.

Mallon pitched a complete game of five innings, and she and the defense held the opponents to three runs/

“Both teams were really prepared and we couldn’t get enough runs across,: said Dusty Mallon. “We played great defense.

“Blountstown was the hands-down pick to win the tournament,” he said. “Nobody expected us to complete.

On Tuesday against Port St. Joe, the Darlings won 24-2 in three innings, invoking the 15-run rule.

On Wednesday, in the first inning against Blountstown, Millender was dragged down by an aggressive third baseman, and so was awarded home. The next ball was hit to the outfield, scoring Mallon, and the girls were up 2-1.

Blountstown tied it in the second, and in the third, Franklin County went up 6-4.

The fourth was quiet and in the fifth Blountstown tied it at 6-all. In the bottom half, the local girls had bases loaded with one out, when Jayla creamer smacked a big shot along the left field line.

“If it hits fair, we have a grand slam. It missed the white line by maybe one inch,” said Mallon.

The Lady Tigers scored a pair in the top of the sixth to secure a trip to state.

“Against a powerhouse that we weren’t supposed to compete against, we played well enough to win,” said coach Mallon. “These girls showed determination and with their talent and effort these girls should compete in the future for state titles.”