Baseball, Scott Hall said, can be a cruel game.

Baseball, Scott Hall said, can be a cruel game.

Hall won state Class 1A baseball titles at the helm of Williston High School in 2014 and 2015, but, he said, it could have easily been four titles in a row.

But the 2016 team, featuring standout senior Austin Langworthy, he of University of Florida national championship heroics, could not even advance out of the district tournament.

And, earlier this spring, in a region quarterfinal matchup against Lafayette Mayo, Hall was stunned that his team lost what appeared would be a winnable game.

Hall said he looked at the pitching matchup, one of his hard-throwing starters against a soft-tosser warming up before the game, throwing 70-75 mph, and figured good things were about to happen.

“I figured the offense was going to have a pretty good day but it turned out we could not hit him,” Hall noted. “We had all of this talent and lost 3-1.

“Baseball can just be cruel.”

Despite its cruelty, though, Hall added, “I love the game.”

Hall, who never had a losing season the past six years at Williston, is heading north to take over the baseball program at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School.

Hall succeeds Josh Dailey who is moving into administration as Dean of Students.

Hall will also serve as an assistant coach on a revamped Tiger Shark football staff, taking over as defensive coordinator.

His hiring became official last week the Gulf County School Board approved the hire.

“I wish I still had kids playing,” said School Board member John Wright. “He is a fine man and an excellent coach.”

Several factors played strong roles in Hall’s decision to leave Williston for Port St. Joe.

The first was a working relationship with Port St. Joe athletic director and head football coach John Palmer.

Palmer and Hall coached with and against each other some two decades ago in Williston and Bronson.

"He is a quality coach who has been very successful," Palmer said. "He demands a lot of his kids, are far as we they are working on each day in practice.

"He will be a good fit with our coaches. He will be a great addition."

Another strong pull was the decision by Hall’s oldest son to attend and play baseball at Gulf Coast State College in the fall.

“It was basically time for my family to move somewhere else,” Hall said.

Not that it was easy.

With strong summer programs in the area and sustained success at Williston, Hall felt the tug from many players and their families to remain in place.

Initially, the pull was powerful.

“At first I wasn’t going to leave, I was going to stay,” Hall said. “The success and the program, that makes it tough to leave, but I wanted to do what is best for my family.”

The past six years at Williston were actually something of a second coaching stint for Hall.

Hall, who played and coached previously at Southwest Oklahome State, took over the baseball program at Chiefland High School in 1990 and twice reached the state’s final eight.

But he went into private business after a few years and remained in business until the Great Recession pushed him back into coaching.

He was lucky, he said, that he landed in an area of the state brimming with baseball talent.

“We always had a lot of talent,” Hall said. “Those state titles were because we had some outstanding athletes and players that played well together.”

His diamond philosophy is straightforward and revolves around the fundamentals: play good defense, throw strikes and push the point on the basepaths.

“We will throw strikes and play good defense,” Hall said. “We are going to run the bases aggressively.

“If we don’t walk anybody and don’t have any errors, and on offense don’t have strikeouts, we are going to have a chance to beat anybody.”

And while he takes over a program that has not made playoff noise in several seasons, and was 9-12 last season, Hall said he saw the front of the school building and the notation regarding 20-something state championships and was not fazed.

“You look at all those championships and you know Port St. Joe has always had talent,” Hall said. “There is talent there.”