Destin Marlins fall to Ruckel Rams

TINA HARBUCK
Destin's Nick Sherer dives back to first in the first inning against Ruckel. Shere got one of the two walks issued by Ruckel pitcher Chance Huff who threw a no-hitter.

After two marks in the win column, the Destin Marlins suffered their first loss of the season, a 12-0 shutout by the Ruckel Rams in Niceville.

"The biggest issue is we didn't come over here and compete the way we need to," said Destin baseball coach Brian McDaniel as he walked off the field.

"We come over here and see that Ram on the hat … and I think we back down a little bit," McDaniel said, noting Ruckel has won the county championship for the past decade.

"On the mound we didn't come out from the get go and get after it. We were playing not to lose a little bit," he said.

Ruckel jumped on the Marlins early with six runs in the first inning. Nick Nolan and Nathan Lloyd both walked, then Reese Hines slapped a double to drive in two runs. Destin issued another walk, then Matthew Wells belted a homer over the left center fence for three RBIs. Ryan Romair struck out a Ram, but then gave up a hit to Tristan Keith.

At that point, McDaniel made a pitching change and went with Jacob Edelman. He came in and gave up one hit, a walk and a run before striking out two. Destin trailed 6-0.

In the top of the second, Destin went three up, three down on two pop flies and a strikeout.

Ruckel put another run on the board in the bottom half. After Edelman struck out Hines who reached on a fielding error and later scored on a base hit from Wells.

The third inning was the last time Destin got a runner on base. Nick Sherer reached on an error but was left stranded when the next batter struck out.

The Marlins went down on strike outs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Ruckel had one more big inning at bat in the bottom of the fourth scoring five runs. Hines doubled and Chance Huff reached on an error following a strike out. Dawson Marshall got to first on an error and Edelman hit the next batter. Nolan Berry came in as relief on the mound and gave up two hits before forcing a couple of groundouts to end the inning.

"We just can't give a good team extra outs," McDaniel said. "They are set up to be hard to beat if you don't make plays."

Ruckel's pitcher Chance Huff faced 18 batters, struck out 11 and walked two and gave up no hits.

"Chance is the Justin Verlander of this league," McDaniel said. "He's got a good arm and good delivery.

"We swung it once in one inning and twice in another inning. He throws it hard. He's gonna be tough to beat."

The Marlins travel to Crestview today to take on the Shoal River Mustangs at 4 p.m.

"We've got to get back to swinging the bat and we've got to do a good job on the mound."

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LADY MARLIN TUMBLE

The Destin Middle School Marlin softball team lost 15-0 to the Ruckel Rams in three innings.

They travel to Crestview today for a 4 p.m. game against the Shoal River Mustangs.