The Port St. Joe AA Dixie Youth All-Star team finished its season as the State runner-up in Sebring on July 4. From District to State, we played 16 games and compiled a 13-3 record, including winning the District championship, a four-team tournament in Marianna, and second in the State for the AA B Division. Port St. Joe fell to Franklin County in the championship game on a walk-off hit by Franklin County. We were three outs from being the State champions, but I have to take my hat off to Franklin County. They are a well-coached team and a great group of kids. Franklin County Coach McNair and I laughed that we had to drive seven hours to play each other and we could have taken care of this at home. Neither team lost to anyone but each other at the State tournament. I could not even begin to give an MVP for our team, because all 12 players contributed to our success. Sidney Harris, one of my assistant coaches, could not make the trip due to work, and Ben Ashcraft stepped in and helped us tremendously. We definitely missed Coach Sidney, but Coach Ben stepped in and did a great job. I want to thank Coaches Harold and Sheneka Williams for their efforts as well.
I want to thank the parents and family members who supported our team throughout our playoff run. Everyone chipped in and helped us and provided the support we needed. I want to thank Chris Buchanan for the amazing pictures he took during the tournament. I want to give a special thanks to all of the local businesses and individuals who generously donated to make this trip possible. That is what I love about our community. We could not have made this trip without the financial support of our community. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching this group of kids. They showed a lot of heart and effort during the tournament.
The next to last game that we had to win to get to the championship game we were down 9-1 and came back and won. In the final game, we were down 7-1, and got up 13-11, before losing 14-13 in Franklin’s final at bat. They never quit, and that’s what I will always remember about this team. At the end, I was disappointed in the loss, but at the same time, I was satisfied with the effort and attitude. These coaches, players, and family members will always have a special place in my heart.
Thank you, Mark Costin