It took 3 hours and 25 minutes and eight innings to do it, but the Destin All-Stars handed Shalimar a 16-15 loss in the Florida District 1 8-9 year-old Special Games baseball tournament in Niceville Wednesday night.
“I’ve got nothing,” said a worn out Destin Coach Matthew Dahlman after the unusually long game. “All I know is these kids played their butts off tonight.
“We had so many big plays and every single kid on the roster, one through 12, really stepped up,” he added.
Destin went through three pitchers in the eight inning game.
“We’re spent … everybody played their hearts out. I’m so proud of all of them," Dahlman said. "They had to fight their way back from the loser’s bracket.”
Destin lost to Shalimar 9-6 in the first round of the tournament, falling into the loser’s bracket.
However, Destin beat DeFuniak Springs 17-1 in the second game and then Niceville 14-10 in game three.
On Wednesday, they found themselves in a battle to stay alive and a chance to play for the championship.
“We’ve got one more … we’re going to do our best and try and win,” Dahlman said.
In Wednesday’s battle, Destin got on the board first with a run in the top of the first with Will Wortman scoring on a steal.
Shalimar evened the score in the bottom half with an unearned run.
In the second, Shalimar pulled away scoring the five-run limit on four walks and two hits.
In the top of the third, Destin closed the gap with four runs. Carter McLendon walked and stole second. Quentin Saviola put down a bunt and then Ethan Thomas slapped a double to centerfield to score McLendon and Saviola. McCarver Dahlman rippled a double to center, but Thomas was tagged out at third. Wortman followed with a base hit. The next two batters walked, forcing a run across the plate. The last run scored on a catcher-interference call for a 6-5 game.
In the bottom of the third, Shalimar picked up one run for a 7-5 lead.
Destin kept them within reach with one run in the top of the fourth. Saviola walked and scored on a single from Dahlman.
Shalimar answered with one run on two hits for an 8-6 game.
In the top of the fifth, Wortman walked and moved around to third on passed balls and later scored on a walk.
Destin took its first lead of the game in the top of the sixth. With one out, Saviola and Thomas both walked. Dahlman popped up for the second out. Wortman singled to left center with Saviola and Thomas scoring for a 9-8 advantage.
In the bottom half, Shalimar tied the game on one hit before Thomas sat them down on a pair of strikeouts, forcing the game into extra innings.
In the top of the seventh, Destin batters worked the count and drew five walks and scored six runs. Thomas hit a shot at the short stop to bring in a run and Wortman put one down the first baseline which allowed two runs to score.
Not over yet, Shalimar evened the score again in the bottom half with six runs on three hits. With the go-ahead run on second base, Destin’s Saviola made a saving catch in center field to force the game into the eighth.
In the top of the eighth, Jordan Miles-Galloway walked, stole second and scored on a triple to left by Baker Giles for a 16-15 edge.
In the bottom, Destin shut Shalimar down quickly. After giving up a hit, pitcher Thomas fielded a ball to get the runner out at second. Hamilton Martin made a catch at third for the second out and then Wortman caught a foul ball behind the plate to end the game.