After a slow start, the Destin Marlins rallied in the third inning to pull off a 9-3 victory over the visiting Freeport Bulldogs in middle school baseball action Wednesday afternoon.

“Freeport came out to play today,” said Destin Coach Matthew Cawthon.

“They have some good pitching and it was close for a while.”

In the first inning, Destin shut Freeport down then came in and scored two runs. Donovan Monsees walked and stole around for a score. Zander Davis ripped one past the shortstop and managed to move around to third base. Noah Wright followed with a base hit to score Davis for a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the second, Freeport picked up one run with Copeland Herrington scoring on a hit from Hunter Morris. In the third they evened the score on a couple of hits and a score from Noah O’Hara.

With the game deadlocked, Destin exploded in the bottom of the third with six runs on two hits, four walks, a couple of errors and some crafty base running. Hunter Barber singled for an RBI and Zander Davis knocked in a pair of runs on a single to right. Destin had six stolen bases for the inning plus a score on a balk by the pitcher.

In the fifth inning, Destin picked up one last run. Gavin Garrity belted a double to center field and moved around on a single from Barber. Dylan Matekovich grounded out and Garrity scored for a 9-2 game.

In the top of the sixth, O’Hara singled for the Bulldogs and later scored on a throwing error for the final run.

“Our guys had several tough at bats that forced them into favorable hitter’s counts that lead to key hits,” Cawthon said.

The Destin Marlins collected a total of 10 hits with Caleb Reeder, Zander Davis and Barber each connecting for two.

Destin used two pitchers in the game with Matekovich getting the win. Matekovich went five innings, struck out four and gave up three hits. Monsees threw the last two innings and struck out four, walked one and gave up two hits.

Up next for Destin is a 4:30 p.m. game Monday at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar.