BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - There's no place like home.
Since Hurricane Michael, parts of our home in the Panhandle haven't felt quite like home, but the Blountstown community teamed up to help its high school baseball team have a home field again.
The diamond at Sam Atkins Park looks almost exactly like it did last season, aside from an old fashioned manual scoreboard (which, it could be argued, adds charm).
It looks nothing like it did the day after the storm.
At first, the Tigers weren't sure they'd be able to play there at all. Then they weren't sure they could play at night.
That's what teammates are for.
For every game and practice, night and day, this field feels like home again.
"It took a day's work just to cut trees just to get our vehicles in," head coach Emory Horne recalled. "All our light poles were laying at 45 degree angles. Some kids that had played for me in the past [that are] working with the utility company now came out to get them straight. Two churches came out and helped clean up the debris. We had to get some new fencing out there. I mean, we've still got some damage, but it's playable and we're just glad to be here playing."
They're playing well,17-4 overall, sharing the top of 1A District 2 with Sneads and Holmes, all sharing six wins apiece in division.
The herculean effort to clean the park has been worth it.
"Not only to the players, but the families and the community to be able to get back and have some normal life in our athletics here," Horne added. "Our football field, our gym and all is destroyed. Hopefully we'll have it going back. Getting here and getting back to normal a little bit has been big for us."
The Tigers host Marianna Tuesday night.