Scriptwriters would be envious.
The main character is a team more than happy just to have a head coach in place when the season began.
The plot twists were many, starting with a midseason six-game losing streak which dropped the team under .500, where it resided much of the rest of the regular season.
A later losing streak put the team at 9-11 after a loss to district foe Bozeman, ranked No. 1 in the state.
The team was 12-12 to start the postseason, the immediate goal to win one game and reach the region playoffs.
To the surprise of most outside their dugout, one win later came a blowout of the state’s top-ranked team, yep, Bozeman, for a district title.
They fought off one overlooked opponent and, again, routed the former top-ranked team to win a region title and a trip to the state Final Four.
In Fort Myers, they waited out a rain delay of more than seven hours to win a semifinal game, the next day the rain delay before the title game became roughly 36 hours.
And that team emerged to shut down the opposition and win a state title, turning the title numeral in the history of the program to two and the school nearly three-dozen.
In addition, bringing home to Gulf County the second state title in as many weeks.
No wonder Coach Ashley Summerlin, who ended up setting an unusually high bar for he and the program henceforth in this, his first year in Port St. Joe, had “unbelievable” at the ready when other words escaped.
“Once our kids had some success (after the midseason losing streak) we just really got in a good routine,” Summerlin said. “A good routine at practice, we made progress every practice.
“We were able to get into a good rhythmn. We knew we could compete with anybody if we did things the right way.”
The Tiger Sharks (18-12), who won six postseason games by a combined 48-11, won the two games in Fort Myers behind a formula that had become familiar the past month.
The pitching was outstanding, with complete games tossed by Elijah Hester and Chris Stockton.
Hester, who finished the season 8-4 with a 2.32 ERA, beat Blountstown 7-3 in the semifinal, his fourth-straight postseason victory.
Stockton, who beat Liberty County in a district semifinal to begin the postseason run but had pitched just 2/3 of an inning since, tossed a complete-game shutout against Madison County in the title game.
“They (Stockton and Hester) prove you don’t have to win with an overpowering arm,” Summerlin said. “They just pitch. They just kept missing barrels.
“Nobody could square them up. (Pitching coach) Travis (Burge) has done a great job with them all season.”
And behind those two aces, the defense turned more double plays than errors and the offense, presented with an opening, put the hits together to take advantage, as they have throughout the postseason, seemingly different heroes different games.
Against Madison County, John Austin Gee had an RBI single in the second inning, Bryce Register a two-run double the following frame and Cameron Harmon an RBI single in the fourth.
Register was 2 for 3 with two RBI and a run, Gee was on base three times and Caleb Butts and Jaden Grantland were each 1 for 2 with a walk and a run-scored.
Josh Butts walked three times and scored.
“We played well,” Summerlin said maybe in the understatement of the season. “We pitched like it, we hit like it, we played defense like we have the past month.
“We made plays. When you get to that level of competition, you need to do that.”
Outside the lines provided some challenges, Summerlin said, the primary challenge to keep the kids “occupied” Saturday evening through Monday’s midday start of the title game after rains washed out Saturday.
Summerlin wasn't entirely sure he and Burge, along with a huge assist from parents and other community members who followed the team south, had the players prepared until they were about to head to the field.
Summerlin said there were nerves until several of the players simply said, “Let’s just play, Coach.”
“Our kids were loose,” Summerlin said.
They were loose despite a season that began in some turmoil; Summerlin was the third coach since the 2017 season ended and arrived only in January.
A team that despite some key seniors, is actually on the young side, due to return seven starters next year.
“What it came down to is, basically, when we had the opportunity presented to us we executed and that’s the name of the game,” Summerlin said. “We can put them in a position to succeed and all that, but it comes down to the players have to execute at the right times.
“These are great kids, raised the right way. There was always some adversity for these kids to overcome and they handled it. It was a fun ride.”