A big bullpen and speed on the bases may be the driving force behind the Destin Marlin baseball team this season.
"Our strength is probably going to be on the mound. I think we will be deeper than we have been," said Destin Coach Brian McDaniel.
The Marlins have seven possible players who can pitch.
"I like the way Ryan Romair has looked on the mound," McDaniel said. He mentioned others such as Cameron Gagliano, Gage Peaden, Harrison Brice, Nick Sherer, Nolan Berry and Jacob Edleman.
"As long as they throw strikes they'll be effective," McDaniel said.
Another positive for the Marlins will be on the bases. "We've got several guys that can run," he said.
As for the bats, "We don't have the Jason Shirley we had last year. We just don't have that guy that's going to give us three runs on one swing of the bat.
"I think we've got a lot of guys that will put the ball in play," he said, noting they will be able to bunt runners up if needed.
"We've got a good group of kids, they pretty much do what I ask them to do, and they work hard for the most part," he said.
More than half of the team has been in the program with McDaniel for more than two years.
"I think they are starting to understand … that's always a positive," he said.
"I see some of the older kids that been with me several years policing up the younger guys, making sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is good from my point of view," McDaniel said.
"The attitudes have been good," he added.
The Marlins will play four pre-season scrimmage games in the next couple of weeks. At 4 p.m., Friday Destin will host the Bruner Spartans, and then travel to Ruckel for a 10 a.m. game Saturday. On March 18 at 4 p.m. Destin will play Shoal River at home, and then on March 20 they will travel to Meigs for a 4 p.m. game.
The official season for Destin begins at 4 p.m. at home against the Pryor Pirates.
ON THE TEAM
Eighth graders: Nick Sherer, Ryan Romair, Robbie Leach, Noah Bailey, Justin Massey, Jordan Johnson, Jacob Edelman and Blaine Zielinski.
Seventh graders: Harrison Brice, Nolan Berry, Cameron Gagliano, Gage Peaden, Jake Peaden, Conner Crimmins, Christian Parker and Triston Davis.
Sixth graders: Robby Rush, Nick Greer, Hayden Hubbard and Christian Ford.
Fifth grader: Bison Malave.