It took a lot of hard work, and a will to win, but earlier this month, Franklin County’s 8-and-under AA boys All-Star team became only the second boys ballclub in that age group from the county to win the Dixie Youth Baseball state title.
That means they’ll be representing Florida against 10 other state champs from throughout the Southeast at the Dixie Youth World Series in Hattiesburg, Mississippi July 27 through Aug. 1.
“I’m very proud of my boys and we will continue to put in the work to compete at the highest level at the World Series,” said head coach Cole Lee.
The team, which will be honored at the July 18 county commission meeting, features Carrabelle’s Colby Blevins, Maddox Dooley, Ronnie Joseph, Gunner Mock, Jaice Moore and Mavrick Sheridan; Eastpoint’s Wyatt Hatfield and Fisher Lee; and Apalachicola’s Arian Jones, Corbin Mallon and Robert Mathis.
Assisting Lee with coaching duties are assistants Travis Sheridan, Jared Mock and Wade Blevins.
Competing in the Division II bracket, the team got off to a strong start at the state tourney in Marianna when they opened with a 17-2 victory over Wewahitchka on Saturday morning, July 1.
Then in game 2 on Sunday morning, they downed Brooksville 16-6
In game 3 that afternoon, the team came back from a string of errors that put them on the wrong end of an 8-3 score, to eke out a one-run victory, 11-10, over Avon Park.
That set up a Monday morning match-up against West Volusia, which they won 11-1.
On Tuesday morning, July 4 they were ready for a rematch against Avon Park in the championship game, and this time it was a smoother ride, as Franklin County secured an 11-3 victory.
“This group of 11 boys and their coaches has worked hard training since last fall, traveling to multiple states to play travel tournaments in preparation to win the state championship,” said assistant coach Travis Sheridan.
“We are very blessed for the experience and would like to thank the community and our business sponsors for making it possible to represent Franklin County Dixie Youth League at the state level,” added Cole.
The World Series features more than 20 teams and is expected to attract thousands of spectators to Hattiesburg to cheer for their hometown players and state.
“We have been keenly focused on expanding and building upon the quality of our public places for the last several years throughout Hattiesburg, including our parks and ballfields. First and foremost, it’s important for us to provide parks and recreational facilities for our local youth and their families to enjoy,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “We are looking forward to sharing a warm, friendly welcome to visitors during this special time for our community.”