Poplar Springs faces Chipley 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Poplar Springs in region semi-final play

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 at 03:29 PM.

Even though it was 30 years in the making, the district title won by the softball team at Poplar Springs was a logical progression of sorts.

That might be the only thing approaching logic that ensues.

The Atomics, who are endeared to this corner by their nickname alone, bounced Milton Central 11-1 last week for the District 1-1A championship. It was the first district title won by the school, which has an address in Graceville but is located across the Jackson County line, since the 1983 girls basketball team.

That ain’t exactly the Curse of the Bambino, but clearly the nuclear age has seemed to bypass this sparsely populated northeast section of Holmes County within a ground-rule double of the Alabama border.

Perhaps the biggest upset of all is that Graceville, with 2,402 residents according to a recent population survey, has two public high schools located 5 miles apart using it as a mailing address. Or that a school such as Poplar Springs that offers only four sports at the varsity level — boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball — and boasts 85 students in grades 9-12 still is alive in the regional playoffs.

But that doesn’t define this group of athletes coached by Brad Hall, who have been building toward this moment — Tuesday night’s region semifinal game against visiting Chipley— during the past three seasons.

Poplar Springs was 9-1 in the district three years ago, Hall said, but lost in extra innings to Laurel Hill in the tournament semifinals. Last year was 8-2, and again the Atomics were denied by Laurel Hill, this time 1-0 in the championship game.



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