By PATRICK CASEY
South Walton rallied for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as they picked up a 10-5 win over Franklin County in a District 4, Class A contest played on Friday evening.
The two squads were tied at two runs apiece after the first three innings of play only to see the Franklin County squad strike for a pair of runs in the top of the fourth as a single and two costly errors gave the visiting team a 4-2 lead.
South Walton trailed for only a few minutes as they sent 13 players up to bat in the bottom part of the inning. Ashlyn Sachenbacher started the rally off as she reached first base due to catcher’s interference. Savannah Clark followed with a single and freshman Lillie Jastrzebski moved the runners over with a ground ball out. Brittany Kline hit into a fielder’s choice that Franklin County botched to allow a run to score. Catcher Leah Ellison followed with a shot to left field that was bungled into an error and allowed a pair of runs to score. Meagan Ellison walked and Tessa Hendrix supplied a sacrifice fly to plate another run. Rebecca Hubbard drew a walk and Alexia Parker followed with a single to drive in another run. Sachenbacher then reached due to catcher’s interference again, an extremely rare feat, with Clark and Jastrzebski drawing walks before Kline stuck out to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
Franklin County could not recover from the damage of that inning as they trailed 9-4 with the margin increasing to 10-4 an inning later as Parker doubled in Meagan Ellison.
Franklin County appeared to be on the verge of a rally in the top of the sixth inning as a walk and a single with two outs set the stage for junior Madison Newell’s single to right field that plated a run but Melanie Collins was caught in a run-down between second and third base that resulted in the final out of the inning.
South Walton senior pitcher Meagan Ellison closed out the complete game in the seventh inning with the help of a runner’s interference call that resulted in a double play after she had walked consecutive batters. Ellison walked four and struck out four while giving up seven hits.
The Seahawks had five hits and took advantage of six errors by Franklin County to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-0 in district competition for coach Bob Hartness.
The Seahawks have a road game at Pensacola High on Thursday and a key home district game with Liberty County on Friday that is set for a 5 p.m. start.
Team Notes: The Seahawks are a much younger squad this year due to season ending injuries to senior Camille Cosson and junior Tabitha Gaydos that they suffered in the off-season. The Seahawks are trying to make the playoffs after missing out the last three seasons due to tough losses in district semi-final contests. The South Walton softball team has posted a winning record for seven consecutive seasons.
By PATRICK CASEY