It took a little longer than usual, but the Destin 9U All Stars came from behind to beat Baker 17-16 for the championship of the Florida Distinct 1 Minor League Division in DeFuniak Springs Thursday night.
“Top to bottom they battled hard and they showed heart,” said Destin Coach Steve Kirby minutes after the team was awarded the championship banner. “They kept battling and then never stopped.”
Coach Scott Kirby said the “not giving up” attitude was the thing he was most proud of.
“Earlier I thought they would have given up, but they didn’t and they just kept pushing,” Scott said. “And they won a real tight close baseball game and that’s important.”
Destin took the early lead going up 6-3 in the first two innings. Destin put three on the board in the first inning on four hits with Jordan Figueroa leading out with a triple and Charlie Frankfurt, Jace Cunningham and Mason George following with singles. In the second Destin, picked up three more with Frankfurt unloading on one for a triple to right field for two RBIs.
In the top of the third, the tide turned and Baker scored the five-run limit to go up 7-6. Destin evened the score in the bottom half. Vance Kirby singled to right center and scored on a triple to center by Caleb Wright.
Baker did it again in the top of the fourth putting five runs on the board on one hit, four walks and a couple of errors.
Destin failed to score in the bottom, and Baker led 12-7.
In the fifth, the Destin defense shut Baker down with a big catch by Wright at short stop and a couple of strike outs by Jace Cunningham.
In the bottom half, Destin gained some ground back with four runs on two hits. Cunningham doubled and scored on a pass ball. Carter Phillips singled to right for two RBIs for a 12-11 game.
In the top of the sixth, Baker added two more runs.
Destin answered in the bottom half to tie the game at 14-14, forcing the game into extra innings.
In the top of the seventh, Baker again added two runs.
Destin battled in the bottom half to pull of the win. Calvin Blackman singled to right and Charlie Perkins walked. Griffin Cann hit a fielder’s choice and Blackman scored. Up next, Figueroa blasted a triple up the middle for two RBIs and the crowd filled with parents and friends went wild.
Destin used five pitchers in the almost three-hour game – Figueroa, Kirby, Wright, Cunningham and Koren Silver.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Destin again came from behind to beat Baker 13-4.
Down 4-0, Destin evened the score in the bottom of the third with four runs. Frankfurt and Kirby each hit singles for RBIs.
In the bottom of the fourth, Destin put four more runs on the board. With two outs, Griffin Cann singled and scored on a throwing error. Figueroa singled to right and Frankfurt reached on an error with Figueroa scoring. Silver reached on a fielder’s choice, then Cunningham ripped a single to left for two RBIs and an 8-4 ball game.
In the fifth, Destin scored five runs on a couple of hits. Kirby singled, Charlie Perkins tripled to right center for two RBIs and Cunningham also had a single for an RBI.
Frankfurt got the win for the Destin All Stars on the mound facing 19 batters, striking out seven, giving up one hit and five walks. With Frankfurt reaching his pitch count, Cunningham closed it out in the sixth striking out two of four batters.