After losing five players to high school and a few others to other area schools, it’s looking to be a rebuilding year for the Destin Marlin softball team.

“It’s definitely a building year,” said Brittany Cahoon, who is entering her fourth year as head coach of the Destin Marlins.

Last year, the Marlins finished second in the county tournament behind Ruckel Middle of Niceville.

“This is probably like my very first year … where I had a building stage,” she said.

But the Destin Middle School Marlins may not be by themselves at starting afresh.

“I don’t know what the other teams have. I know we all lost players. We lost the majority of what we had. Everybody else is probably starting fresh,” she said as well.

As for the Marlins, Cahoon has five players back in the lineup. They are eighth graders Samantha Sherer, Kaylin Winters, and Grayson King, along with sixth graders Ava Smith and McKenzi (MJ) Toth.

Destin has 16 players on the roster this season.

“So far they look pretty good,” Cahoon said.

“They’re a little rusty, but expected them to be rusty,” she said, noting a lot of them just wrapped up with basketball and soccer. “You can definitely tell the ones who have picked up the ball and played and those that haven’t touched it since last season.”

With only two days of practice under their belt, Cahoon said it’s a little early to tell what the strength of the team is.

“It’s still a little early, but I would say probably our hitting. We should be able to put the bat on the ball,” she said.

Manning the pitching circle, Destin has three possibilities – Toth, Smith and Elaina Perkins, all sixth graders.

The Marlins will get a chance to see what they have when they take the field March 5 at home against the Pryor Pirates.

“I think it’s going to be a good year. They are very focused and quite,” Cahoon said.