Destin Marlins pound Pryor, advance to championship game

Tina Harbuck

The Destin Marlins pounded out 15 hits Monday afternoon to blast the Pryor Pirates 10-0 in the Okaloosa County Middle School baseball playoffs earning a chance to the play for the championship.

“This is the first time in the playoffs,” said Destin Coach Daniel Griffin.

In the 2006 Destin won the county title in baseball, but that was before there was a playoff system.

Destin will face-off against Ruckel Middle School at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Niceville.

As for Monday’s playoff victory, Destin ripped the ball with Jackson Smith leading the effort with solo home run and two singles.

“Multiple base hits have obviously helped us out this year,” Griffin said.

Destin’s Jackson Crews and Aiden Garrity each connected for two doubles, while Luke Edelman slapped a home run and a single. Benton Henderson doubled and singled and Jayden Kinkopf hit two singles.

“Us coming out and making contact early in the game … and putting the ball in play gives you a chance and an opportunity,” he said. “Plus our fielding was tremendous and I thought Benton did an incredible job on the mound.”

Henderson, backed up by his defense, shut the Pirates down in six innings. He faced 22 batters, struck out five, walked two and gave up two hits and no runs.

In the first inning, after Destin left fielder Garrity made two big catches for outs and second baseman Parker Hill fielded a ground for an out, the Marlins came in and put three runs on the board. Crews and Garrity hit back-to-back doubles with Crews scoring. Preston Murphy singled to right for an RBI and Edelman knocked in the other run.

In the second, the Destin defense again shut Pryor down quickly on three pop ups for outs.

The Marlins picked up another run in the bottom half. Garrity belted a double that fell at the foot of the centerfield fence and scored on a single by Smith.

In the top of the third, Smith fielded a grounder at short stop and then Henderson struck out the next two batters for a quick turn around.

In the bottom of the fourth, Destin put two more runs on the board with Smith and Edelman hitting back-to-back bombs.

“I looked up and knew it was gone,” Smith said, noting it was a fast ball he smacked over the centerfield fence. It was his second home run of the season. As for Edelman it was his third.

In the fifth, Pryor got a runner on base on an error but then Hill fielded two grounders for an out and Henderson struck out a Pirate to leave the runner stranded.

Destin put three runs on the board in the bottom half of the fifth. Kinkopf singled and Aiden Davis reached on a fielder’s choice. Crews ripped a double up the middle to score Kinkopf and then Garrity hit a sacrifice to bring in two RBIs.

In the sixth, Destin scored the one run needed for a 10-run ruling on the game. Henderson doubled and scored on a hit from Kinkopf.