Destin eighth grader Jason Shirley smacked his fifth homer, a grand slam, of the season Monday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Bruner Spartans, who walked away with an 11-7 victory over the Destin Marlins in middle school baseball action.
“He threw me two curves,” said Shirley who slapped the second one over the right centerfield fence in the bottom of the second inning. Shirley’s home run, followed up by a homerun knock by Chandler Carlyle, put the Marlins in the driver’s seat momentarily. The homerun shot by Carlyle, also a curve, was his fourth of the season.
However the 6-3 Marlin lead started to fade in the top of the third when the Spartans picked up two runs on two hits. Jonathan Chapman singled and scored on a wild pitch and then Adam Anderson cranked one over the centerfield fence for a 6-5 game.
In the top of the fifth, Bruner took the lead with two runs on one hit; Justice Lucas was credited with a single.
Destin evened the score in the bottom half with a run scored by Nick Sherer on a sacrifice by Robbie Leach.
In the sixth, the Spartans connected for five hits to score four runs and an 11-7 go ahead.
The Marlins failed to get a run across the plate in their last two turns at bat.
“We scored seven runs; we ought to win the baseball game,” said Destin Coach Brian McDaniel.
However the Marlins struggled on the mound.
“Bottom line is we didn’t pitch,” McDaniel said. “Our guy goes out there, gives up a couple of runs and pulls himself, says he’s hurt. We were counting on him to go deep in the game – but for whatever reason he wasn’t able to do it.”
Destin used five pitchers — Matt Boswell, Cameron Gagliano, Nolan Berry, Carlyle and Shirley.
“But you’ve got to tip your cap to Bruner. They came in here and they hit the ball,” McDanield said.
Bruner connected for 11 hits with John Michael Owens, Chapman, Lucas and Anderson each collecting two hits
Destin, on the other hand, had six hits with Shirley connecting for two. Carlyle had his homerun shot, while Boswell, Harrison Brice and Carter Lurk each had one.
Up next for the Marlins is a 4 p.m. game Wednesday in Valparaiso against the Lewis Falcons.