VINTON — Third baseman Logan Coleman lofted a fly ball to right field with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday to drive in the game-winning run as Franklin County’s 11-12 year-old all-star team edged North Roanoke, 5-4, in the championship game of the District 7 Dixie Youth Ozone baseball tournament at Vineyard Park.
Coleman’s fly ball brought Logan Forren, the last of three pitchers employed by Franklin County, home with the winning run.
With the victory, Franklin County completes an undefeated tournament run; it bested Glenvar, Salem twice and North Roanoke en route to the championship. Two of its tournament wins were one-run decisions.
As the District 7 champion, Franklin County advances to the Virginia Dixie Youth Ozone tournament, which begins Friday, July 5 in South Boston.
Forren, who was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and Seth Young led off the bottom of the sixth with consecutive singles to left field. With one out, Coleman ran the count to 3-2, then delivered his heroics.
North Roanoke needed to defeat Franklin County twice to win the championship and through 3 1/2 innings, it held a 2-0 advantage.
Franklin County erased itsdeficit in the bottom of the fourth when it produced a four-run rally.
A stellar defensive frame by Franklin County in the top of the fourth played a pivotal role in the rally too as the local squad picked a North Roanoke runner off first base and threw another one out attempting to steal third.
Franklin County’s lead was short-lived as North Roanoke manufactured two runs in its half of the fifth to produce a stalemate at 4. North Roanoke tallied the tying run on a throwing error.
In the bottom of the fifth, Franklin County used a walk and a stolen base to advance a runner into scoring position at second base, but North Roanoke recovered, and retired Franklin County hitters Eli Ingram, Chance Smith and Luke Hicks in succession.
Franklin County thwarted a North Roanoke rally in the top of the sixth.
Forren, a right-hander, opened the frame by striking out the lead-off batter, but North Roanoke’s second hitter was able to reach base on an infield error before stealing second.
Moments later, the batter was erased on the bases when Young, Franklin County’s catcher, fired a strike to Coleman at third for the second out.
North Roanoke would get a single and steal second again before Forren ended the frame when he struck out the last batter he would face on a 0-2 pitch.
North Roanoke won the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.
In the District 7 Dixie Youth AAA (ages 9-10) tournament, Franklin County suffered a 14-5 loss to Glenvar and was eliminated.
The contest began Monday and three innings were played before it was postponed by rain. The game resumed Tuesday in the fourth inning with Franklin County trailing 8-1.
Glenvar took control of the contest in the third inning.
After losing its first game in the tournament, Franklin County defeated Mount Pleasant and North Roanoke in succession. Those wins guaranteed the local squad a third-place finish in the five-team tournament.
CIRCLING THE BASES: Franklin County’s Ozone championship is its first since 2015.
That year, the tournament was played at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem and included round-robin pool play and tournament play.
Franklin County lost all three of its games in pool play and made it to the tournament portion as a No. 4 seed. In tournament play, the local squad defeated Salem and Vinton to claim the championship and a state-tournament berth.
Franklin County was coached by Derek Layman, Lionel Ayers, Evan Layman and Helbert Treadway.
Four players from that team — John Michael Holley, Isaiah Ayers, Dakota Treadway and Matthew Thompson — play for Rocky Mount Post 6’s Junior American Legion team.
CORRECTION: A picture of Logan Coleman pitching for Franklin County against Glenvar in its Ozone tournament opener last week was incorrectly identified.
The picture was published on page 6 of Wednesday’s Sports section.
In the photo, Coleman was identified as Clayton Hodges. The two players are teammates.
A correction has been made to the newspaper’s online site.
The News-Post regrets this error.
FRANKLIN COUNTY OZONE ALL-STARS
Greg Hicks: head coach
Taw Hodges: assistant coach
James Hunt: assistant coach
FRANKLIN COUNTY’S AAA ALL-STARS
Phil Bowles: coach
Scottie Manning: coach
Dave Cepelink: coach
Chad Young: coach