After posting a 16-0 blowout in their season opener last week, the Destin Marlins struggled a bit Monday but still walked off the field with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Lewis Falcons in middle school softball.
“It was a much tougher game today,” said Destin Coach Kati O’Brian as she left the field.
“Lewis has a great pitching staff and she threw a lot of strikes today and we struggled a little bit at the plate. But we were still able to get some girls on bases and move them over with a few base hits.”
The Lewis pitcher struck out 11, walked one but the Marlins managed to connect for five hits, three of those coming in the third inning.
With no score going into the bottom of the third, Destin’s first batter struck out before MJ Toth connected for a single. Toth stole around to third and then another Marlin struck out. With two outs, Olivia Payne ripped a hard single up the middle to score Toth. Ava Smith followed with a single to left to score Payne. The next batter struck out but the Marlins were on the board.
In the top of the fourth, Lewis scored their lone run on one hit for a 2-1 game.
In the bottom half, Destin threatened again with Blakely York reaching on a walk and then later getting tagged at the plate.
In the top of the fifth, the Marlins played stellar defense sitting the Falcons down in short order. The first batter was hit by a pitch. But then the next Falcon hit a pop fly that first baseman York managed to catch and tagged the runner off base for an unassisted double play. On the next batter, Toth made a running catch in center field for the third out.
In the bottom half, Destin’s Smith doubled and stole around to third but was left stranded.
In the top of the sixth and last inning, due to darkness setting in, Destin put Lewis away quickly. Shortstop Brody Hlavaty fielded a grounder for a putout; Toth made another catch on the move and then next came on a tag on a run down.
“We stole a lot of bases this game, so we did what we had to on offense,” O’Brian said. “But our defense, hands down is what won this game."
O’Brian explained that Lewis started to hit Smith in the third and fourth innings, but the Marlins were able to make some “major defensive plays,” as she noted the catches from Toth and the double play from York.
“So our defense did their job, "O'Brien said. "They backed up their pitcher and they helped her pull out the win."
Up next for the 2-0 Marlins is a 5 p.m. game Wednesday in Freeport against the Freeport Bulldogs.