By PATRICK CASEY and BLAKE MCCORMICK
The Walton softball team has won 11 straight games and last week wrapped up the regular season championship in District 1 of Class 5A by posting an 11-0 victory over Panama City Bay on Friday night.
Walton finished 4-0 in district competition and will host the district tournament next week with the knowledge that they already have a state playoff berth by virtue of competing in a three-team district and earning the top seed.
The Lady Braves have a pair of games left this week as they host Holmes County on Thursday and Chipley on Friday with the squad looking to avenge losses from earlier in the season to both squads.
Junior pitcher Hannah Poole tossed a no-hitter against the Tornadoes with 11 strikeouts while the offense scored five times in the first inning and three times in both the second and third frames to pick up the win and improve to 14-5 overall on the year.
Macy Danley and Jade Larrick each drove in three runs as the Braves totaled nine hits in the contest.
In Walton’s four district wins against Bay and Rutherford, the Braves posted a 53-0 scoring advantage that has the squad and coach Randi McKie poised to win their third consecutive district title in the sport. Walton will play the winner of next week’s Bay-Rutherford semifinal for the District 1 title on April 27 at 7 p.m.
The Braves had a busy week last week as they gear up for what they hope is another run at the Region 1 title and a trip to the Final Four.
Walton traveled to Paxton on Thursday and posted a 2-0 victory over the Bobcats as Poole threw a one-hitter as she allowed a single to Sadie Varnum with two outs in the first inning before striking out Camryn Brazile to end the frame.
The Bobcats got only two other batters on base over the final six innings, a walk to Paiyton Perry to start the second inning and Hailee Bryan, who was hit by a pitch with two out in the sixth. Poole retired 18 of the final 19 batters without giving up another hit and ended the game with six strikeouts and one walk.
Walton scored their first run in the top of the second as Jade Larrick singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Phredom Coleman who promptly moved to third base on Macy Danley’s sacrifice bunt as she just got under the tag at the bag. Celeste Truett then put the ball in play to the pitcher with a throwing error helping Coleman race in for the go-ahead run.
The Lady Braves added an insurance run in the fifth inning as Jasmin Hester singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a clutch two-out single by Jamie Lamb.
Camryn Brazile took the loss for the Bobcats but struck out eight batters while allowing no walks and six hits.
A single run was all Walton garnered, but that’s all the Lady Braves needed, to defeat Marianna 1-0 in a non-district contest played on Tuesday, April 10th in DeFuniak Springs. The win avenged a 2-1 loss to the Lady Bulldogs from back on March 7.
Walton’s Hannah Poole had the game’s only RBI and struck out 12 batters while giving up four hits. Three of those came in a nail-biting final inning that gave the otherwise methodical game a dramatic finish.
In the first inning, Jamie Lamb stroked a shallow pop fly to right field to get on base and was advanced to third thanks to a subsequent bunt by Sydni Earley. Poole then hit another pop fly to right field that plated Lamb for the 1-0 lead.
The game had little offensive activity throughout the next five innings thanks to exceptional pitching by Walton, and nearly flawless fielding by Marianna.
In the top of the seventh inning, Lamb crouched down from the shortstop position to field a routine grounder, but the ball made a surprising bounce that sailed over the senior’s head and allowed a runner on base. Tension mounted when consecutive bunts by Marianna, and a Walton fielding error at first base, loaded the bases. However, Poole showed her poise by striking out the next two batters. The game ended when Earley, who had been shifted to first base following an injury to Kelee Mosley, made up for her previous error by snagging the last out.
Both teams could meet again as Walton has already qualified for the playoffs and Marianna is expected to win the District 2 title next week.
Walton hosts Holmes County and Chipley on Thursday and Friday with 5 p.m. start times for both games.
By PATRICK CASEY and BLAKE MCCORMICK
By ALICIA LEONARD
“The Mainstreet program although not a grant is a technical support program through federal and state lines that has a coordinator that helps communities like DeFuniak Springs bring the Mainstreet program into being” DeFuniak Springs Grant Writer and Coordinator Chris Mitchell told the DeFuniak Springs Economic Development Committee (DFSEDC) at their April 13, 2017 meeting.
Economic vitality is the aim of the program to help small historic towns revitalize and draw residents and visitors back downtown.
A city official can run the program but not seek donations, but the recommendation that seemed most workable would be to hire an organizer to build a non-profit that can seek donation and fund raise.
Mitchell said with a hypothetical $100,000 budget the hire would have a salary of $40,000 plus healthcare and benefits. The budget could be broken down into thirds, with the city putting in a third, local business giving a third, and a third coming from community fundraising events.
The deadline for the program designation application is June 24, 2017, and Mitchell said he already had all the paperwork available to move forward to meet the deadline.
The DFSEDC moved to recommend to put together the information, and bring to the city manager to bring before the city council.
Populations under 5,000 can hire a part time director, but those over 5,000 are required to hire a full-time director for the program.
Other items of business discussed included an issue with meeting minutes being published on the city web site. Citizen Robert McKnight told the group he could not find past meeting minutes for the last year online. EDC board member Terry Dawkins suggested McKnight speak with the city manager about the issue first.
Lasting longer than many that came the few years before him, Mark Davis turned in his resignation letter as county attorney to Walton County officials April 17, 2017.
Davis said in the letter that it had been an honor to serve the commissioners but had received a job opportunity that he felt was in the best interests of him and his family to take.
He makes clear in the letter that the resignation is purely voluntary.
Davis states in the letter that although his contract states he give 60 days notice he was asking to remain in office only until Friday, May 19, 2017. He wrote he anticipates being in the office full-time until May 12, 2017. Davis states he would like a little time off using annual leave before he begins his next endeavor.
The letter also states that per his contract Davis will not seek any severance pay and only asks for annual and sick leave accrued in accordance with Walton County personnel policies, and he is allowed to withdraw any deferred compensation that he has accrued in his ICMA account.
He closes the letter out with sincere thanks for the opportunity to serve the county and the commissioners, adding that his experience as county attorney has been a “wonderful professional and personal experience.”
By PATRICK CASEY
A two run home run by Adam Richards in the bottom of the third inning and a solid pitching performance by Taylor Collier helped the South Walton baseball team to a 5-2 home victory over Jay on April 5 in a District 3, Class A contest.
The Seahawks, who are 7-0 in district play, need only a road win at Jay or victories at Baker and Freeport to grab the top seed for the District 3 tournament that will be played at Northwest Florida State College the week of May 1. read more » »
By DOTTY NIST
“There are many so many things we have to look forward to in Northwest Florida, nothing greater than this bridge,” said State Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City) told a large group of citizens, state and local officials and other dignitaries on April 7.
The occasion marked the long-awaited completion of the new northbound span of the U.S. 331 (Clyde B. Wells) Bridge—which added two lanes to accomplish four-laning of the bridge—and the opening of Thomas Pilcher Park, a public park on the Choctawhatchee Bay that accompanied the bridge expansion project.
Construction on the bridge project had begun in 2014. read more » »
BCC VOTES TO PURCHASE FREEPORT PROPERTY
For single location of Planning Department
CUSTOMARY USE BEACH ORDINANCE NOW IN EFFECT
Injunction attempts fail in lawsuits
COURT REMOVES CINDY MEADOWS AND LARRY JONES FROM LAWSUIT
Laird v. Walton County
WALTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS ANDERSON
Dedication of Walton Initiative for Success
PAXTON ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JEFF BRADLEY PRAISES PLAYERS
Enjoying “great situation” in softball
SWHS SOFTBALL LOSES TO CHIPLEY 4-2
Errors cost Lady Seahawks
PONCE DE LEON SWEEPS MALONE
Softball and baseball teams post wins
By PATRICK CASEY
It was a good Friday afternoon for the Ponce de Leon Pirates as both softball and baseball posted wins over District 1, Class A foe Malone.
The softball team posted a 9-3 decision over the Tigers behind the play of pitcher Devyn Butorac and the hitting of Taylor West.
The Pirates built a 6-1 lead early only to have Malone close to within 6-3 before the Pirates added three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to improve to 5-4 overall and 2-1 in district play. read more » »
By ALICIA LEONARD
As the Herald-Breeze goes to press a celebration will be taking place in the form of a dedication ceremony as the Walton Initiative for Success in Education (Wise) center will be renamed the Carlene H. Anderson Training Center the afternoon of April 4, 2017.
Anderson, a life-long educator and District Superintendent from 2004-2016, was honored with renaming per a resolution prepared read more » »