Destin 9-10s hold on for win over Shalimar, advances (GAME PHOTOS)

Destin’s Zander Davis, center, was all smiles as he headed back to the dugout after slapping a three-run homer in the second inning against Shalimar Thursday night. Destin won the game 9-8.

After taking an early lead, the Destin All-Stars held on for an 9-8 win over Shalimar in the Florida District 1 9-10 Baseball Tournament in Niceville Thursday night.

“We came out early and jumped ahead,” said Destin Coach Brian McDaniel.

But Destin didn’t just sit on their lead.

“They kept fighting and fighting,” McDaniel said.



With the win, Destin was scheduled to play Niceville at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

However on Thursday, “Caleb Reeder was outstanding on the mound,” for Destin, McDaniel said.

Reeder pitched four innings, gave up seven hits, struck out five and walked one.

Zander Davis came in as relief in the fifth and closed it on out, giving up four hits and striking out four.

“It was a big time team effort,” McDaniel said, noting that the subs came in and did a great job.

“This whole team has worked hard … they don’t quit.”

And they proved it time and time again Thursday evening.

Shalimar got on the board first with three runs in the top of the first on two hits. But Destin shut them down with Zander Davis fielding two grounders at third for putouts and catcher Carsten Phillips made a catch on a foul ball for an out.

In the bottom of the first inning, Destin put up four runs on two hits. Pearson McDaniel was hit by a pitch, then Ethan Davis reached on an error. Maddax Fayard ripped a single to left and McDaniel scored. The next batter struck out and Reeder smacked a double to right center for an RBI. LJ Figueroa grounded out and Reeder scored to give Destin a 4-3 advantage.

In the top of the second, Destin shut Shalimar down on a couple of strikeouts and a groundout to McDaniel at second.

Destin blew the game open in the second scoring four runs. Logan Cann singled to right and then moved around on a walk from Phillips. The next batter struck out and a run slipped  in. Ethan Davis walked, then another Destin batter struck out. Up next, Zander Davis unloaded on a fast ball driving it over the right centerfield fence for a three-run homer.

“It was right down the middle,” Davis said about the fast ball. This was Davis’ second home run of the tournament. He belted one out against Niceville earlier in the week.

With Destin up 8-3, Shalimar got two runs back in the top of the fifth on one hit.

In the bottom half, Destin added one more run on some crafty base running by Phillips. With two outs, Phillips walked, stole second and just kept going, advancing on throwing errors for the score.

In the top of the fourth, Shalimar closed the gap with three runs. Juan Gomez reached on an error and the next batter struck out. Noah Cooley and Jason Powe got back-to-back hits with two runs scoring. Blake Garland singled to knock in the last run. With two runner left on, Reeder stuck out the next batter to keep the Destin lead intact.

In the bottom half, Destin’s Zander Davis slapped a double off the right field fence, but was left stranded.

In the top of the fifth, Shalimar threatened loading the bases. But Destin got out of the jam with an out at the plate, a strike out by Zander Davis and a groundout to Ethan Davis at short stop.

Destin did the same in the bottom half, loading the bases but to no avail.

Holding on to a one-run lead, Destin shut Shalimar down in the top of the sixth on a couple of  strikeouts and a groundout to Davis at short stop.

Earlier in the week, Destin defeated DeFuniak Springs 8-5 in the marathon game that took almost five hours to play with a couple of long lightning delays.

Again Destin jumped out to an early lead scoring four runs in the first on five hits. Fayard, Reeder, Figueroa, Easton Hill and Cann all connected for hits.

After an hour-and-a-half delay following the first inning, Destin picked back up and scored two more in the third, before breaking again.

When it was all said and done, Destin finished up about 10:15 p.m. from a 5:30 start game with an 8-5 victory.