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Franklin Co. storms back

MEADVILLE — After getting off to a 1-2 start in MHSAA Division 7-3A play, the chances of Franklin County making the playoffs seemed almost impossible. It had to win out to do so.

First, the Lady Bulldogs held off Hazlehurst on Oct. 1. Then they took care of Crystal Springs at home on Oct. 3. The last obstacle was a Wesson team that had already won the division championship and was looking to run the table in 7-3A.

The Lady Bulldogs overcame a 10-run rally in the top of the seventh inning with a nine-run rally of their own in the bottom of the seventh to pull out an improbable 19-18 win over the Lady Cobras to clinch second place and a spot in the Class 3A South State Playoffs.

“I just told them to score nine. Be patient at the plate. Keep the ball hard and low. Don’t put it in the air,” Franklin County head coach Dana Smith said. “The girls never got down. They were focused and played their hearts out.”

The big hit during Wesson’s 10-run rally in the top of the seventh that gave the Lady Cobras an 18-10 lead was a grand slam. But knowing a playoff berth was at stake, Franklin County would not give up – not on its home field.

Jamecia Starks sparked the rally with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh and went to bat a second time in the frame and, with the bases loaded, came through in the clutch with a walk-off, three-run triple.

Franklin County was also able to pull off the victory despite committing seven errors.

“They hit the ball. We made some good plays on defense,” Smith said. “It was a really good-hitting game.”

Shelly Case went the distance and picked up the win. She allowed 13 earned runs on 21 hits and one walk.

Franklin County (7-16, 4-2) next plays at 6 p.m. today at McComb in its regular-season finale.

Next Tuesday, the Lady Bulldogs will play at Perry Central in a Class 3A South State first-round best-of-three series. Game 1 will be at 5 p.m., followed by Game 2 at 6:30 p.m. and, if necessary, Game 3 at 8 p.m.