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Baseball, softball look to build on youth

Softball and baseball were the highlight of the spring sports
at last month’s all-sports banquet at Franklin County High School.

The baseball program, under the direction of Kevin Cox,
advanced to the regional playoffs for the first time in the school’s history, a journey that included defeating Port St. Joe in the regular season, and again at the districts.

With no seniors on the team, Cox and assistant Gene McLeod
are looking forward to even great success next year as the young crop of
players further mature into seasoned players,

Cited for their contributions this past season were freshmen
Reece Juno, Chase Millender, Will Luberto, Cody Abercrombie, Alex Sterling, Brayden
McCall and Logan Bentley; sophomore Chase Crum, Jordan Olson, Evan Stanley, Mason
Moses, and Wyatt Abercrombie; and juniors Wil Varnes, Blakely Curry, Larry
Winchester and Garrison Cook.

This year’s middle school baseball team also holds promise for
the future. They include Sadiq Jones, Preston Butler, Jeremiah Allen, Jordan
Shiver, Nolan Alford, Rylan Wood, Brennan Cook, Prince Williams, Chason Martina,
Ashton Gilbert, Kyle Gilbert and Colby Blackburn.

Stressing that baseball was a team sport, Cox did not
present individual honors.

The softball team, under the direction of Scott Collins,
also is a young squad, with eight middle school players and four from the high
school. Abby Johnson is the only graduating senior from the 2021 squad.

Collins, flanked by assistants Brock Johnson and Mike Todd,
with whom he has worked for the past eight seasons, said the coaching crew has
been a part of a program that has won more than 200 games, and been a part of five
playoffs, with three district titles and a Class 1A Final Four appearance.

Collins said newcomer Allen Ham worked with the outfield,
teaching them how to crow hop. “By the end, these girls were really good,”
Collins said.

The middle school squad performed well, although two sixth
graders, Jaclyn and Lailah Millender, and seventh grader Lexi Webb, were moved
up into the varsity ranks.  

The middle school team consisted of sixth graders Ansley Chipman, Valerie Shattuck, Wendi
Bernabe, Addyson Paul, Jayla Creamer. Sa’Rigia McNair, Sierra Kelly, Brooklyn
Klink and Princess Turrell; seventh grader Mia Thomas; and eighth
graders Charity Larkin,
Malea Bell, Madison Millender, Jazmyn Pavon, Gracyn Paul, Shianne Shaw.

the varsity squad, Collins praised the play of three ABC School eighth graders Micahlyn
O’Neal, Breahna Fleming and Kaylyn McNair;  junior Ariel Andrews; and junior Sage Brannan,
a first baseman who finished with just one error in 240 chances, and smacked
her first high school home run.

the Coaches Award, for leadership, dedication and academic achievement, was
freshman Taylor Mallon.

Offensive Player of the Year honors went to eighth grader Ryan Brown, a
newcomer to the game, who went on a tear last year, batting .500, with demonstrations
of strong athleticism.

Defensive Player of the Year honors went to eighth grader Sarah Ham, a multi-faceted
player who has already shown herself to be among the region’s finest pitchers.

Valuable Player honors went to Johnson, who batted .410, led the team in home runs
and slugging percentage and showed herself adept at playing a variety of
positions. She’s headed to Gulf Coast State College on a softball scholarship.

soccer coach Mike Murphy was absent, so those duties fell to boys assistant
Isaac Diaz and girls coach Victoria Dively.

who played this year included the team’s MVP Gideon Dively, Esteban Bernabe,
Cooper Bowden, Will Chipman, Devin Daniels, Alexander Dominguez-Gomez, Enrique
Gomez, Hunter Duval, Timothy Gregory, Reece Juno, Garyson Millender, Parker
Mock, Luis Ramirez, Eugenio Sebastian, Ethan Shirley and Austin Staats.

who played this past winter included the Most Valuable Player Rana West,
Captain Sage Brannan, Emily Patterson, Harmony Malone, Caitlin Kuhner, Annalee
Boudreau, Alexa Pavon, Jazmyn Pavon, Miranda Diaz, Emily Smith, Calea Dively, Mia
Thomas, Lailah Carranza and Andrea Cruz.

boys weightlifting team, coached by Dirk Strunk, included Cody Abercrombie,
Wyatt Abercrombie, Logan Bentley, Esteban Bernabe, Cooper Bowden, Hunter Duval,
Brayden McCall, Luis Ramirez and two lifters who qualified to advance in the
post-season, Bentley Braswell and Gideon Dively,

The track
team, coached by Kelsey Jones, included Autumn Loesch, Genesis Jones, Calea
Dively, Micahlyn O’Neal, Mya Brown, Luis Ramirez, Hunter Duval, who received
the Hustle Award, and Josiah Friddle, who won the Achievement award for
advancing to regionals,

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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