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Holly Springs family honors daughter who died in Mississippi crash

The Marshall Academy baseball team had two logos on the field that they painted for every home game in honor of Janie.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss — A Holly Springs family has remained steadfast in their faith and has leaned on the community for support after losing their 3-year-old Janie Branch to a crash last September. 

“From day one, we were Janie strong," her father Bruce Branch said.

It was an emotional day for Branch as he reminisced on the memories of his beloved Janie on the sidelines cheering his Marshall Academy baseball team on. 

“Just a vibrant little girl that just loved everything at Marshall Academy. She loved her boys, her baseball boys as she called them. She was a little sister to all of them,” Branch explained. 

He's the athletic director, baseball coach, and assistant football coach at Marshall Academy. He said Janie kept him and his team going.  

“The season was exciting for me to look forward to…I knew that it wasn’t my out, but I knew it was a way for me to cope with what we’d been through as a family," Branch said. 

He and his wife Abby's daughter, Janie, died early last September. She died after being airlifted to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis following a crash in Grenada County, Mississippi. 

 “We’re still dealing with things related to the wreck, but we truly have trusted God that he’s going to get us through this,” Branch said. 

Janie was a Marshall Academy Pre-K student and pee-wee cheerleader. 

Bruce said her spirit helped him and the team to a 33-7 record and their first state championship in 53 years.

“She pushed us through it and there’s no doubt in my mind that she was there with us through the whole process of winning the state championship,” Branch said.

The team had two logos on the field that the team painted for every home game in honor of Janie.

Bruce said the two spots were the places where he felt like people could see it the most. 

“Before the game, leading out going to their positions … every time they’d go out, I would notice that they would touch Janie Strong in remembrance of her," Branch said. 

    

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