Gulf County will be represented by two all-star teams at this weekend’s state softball tournament in Belleview.
To hardly anyone’s surprise, Wewahitchka will have two teams vying for state titles, the 12-U and the 10-U All-Stars, continuing their tradition as a softball powerhouse.
Drew Hall, head coach of the older girls, said that this was a “good group who put a lot of work in. They push themselves.”
Hall has been working with this age group for “five or six years,” and will see a handful of these players moving on to high school ball next season.
At the tournament, the Gators followed up a victory over Franklin County on Friday night with a defeat of Port St. Joe on Saturday.
Sunday’s championship game proved to be more challenging, as the Gators took eight innings to overcome Franklin County by an 8-5 margin and earn their ticket to the state finals.
Players on the team, who scored a total of 45 runs during the tournament, include Jordyn Ashby, Mia Beatty, Ariel Easter, Madi Ferrell, Ali Ferry, KK Linton, Dominique Mulkey, Eden Rustin, Kendall Skipper, Laila Suber, Anna VanHeerden, and Madi Wood.
Wewa received strong pitching performances from Ashby and Suber, with the duo giving up only six runs in the three games. Suber struck out 18 batters during her 12 innings in the circle.
“Eden Rustin was a constant force behind the plate, catching all three games, (and throwing out) a handful of girls,” said Hall.
Assisting Hall with the 12-U team are Paul Young and Gary Sasnett.
Also making the trip to Belleview will be Drew Hall’s twin brother, Kyle (older by three minutes) and his 10-and-under X-Play softball girls.
The elder Hall’s team automatically earned the ticket to state because “no one else plays X-play,” which consists of a few different rules that, according to Kyle, “help gear them up for high school ball.” One such difference allows for stealing bases.
Kyle Hall has been working with this group for “about four years, (and) they have come a long way” since the pandemic.
The “amazing group of girls” are Aubry Bailey, Baylee Beauchamp, Graci Brock, Madi Brock, Emalee Clark, Jayla Clayton, Aliah Ferry, Gabby Hall, Allyson Johnson, Maycee Johnson, Marlee Martin, and Paityn Suber.
Roy Suber and Brittany Beauchamp round out the 10-U Gator coaching staff.
Anyone who wishes to help lessen the travel costs for these two Gulf County teams may make a donation to the Wewa Dixie Softball Account at any local Centennial Bank location.