Destin Marlins finish second on the diamond

Tina Harbuck
Destin Coach Daniel Griffin huddles up the infield on the mound about midway of the fourth inning. Ruckel exploded on the Marlins in the fourth scoring 11 runs for an 18-4 victory in the Okaloosa County Middle School Baseball Championship game. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Although they finished second in the county, the Destin Marlin baseball team still has a lot to be proud of.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments of the team this year,” said Destin Coach Daniel Griffin.

The Destin Marlins wrapped up its middle school baseball season Wednesday with an 18-4 loss to the Ruckel Rams in the championship game of the Okaloosa County Middle School Baseball Tournament.

The Marlins went into the county tournament as the No. 2 seed and finished up in second place.

“I thought they did an outstanding job this season,” Griffin said. “I’m very proud of the team and obviously it will go down in the record books as one of the better years.

“Any time you can do that and improve yourself, year in and year out, you are better off,” he added.

The last time the Marlins were in the title game was in 2006 when they won the county championship.

This year, the Marlins have combined for more than 25 home runs with Preston Murphy leading the way with eight.

Destin finished up on Wednesday with two knocks out of the park, one from Aiden Garrity and Luke Edelman.

Garrity got his homer in the first inning for the only Destin run of the inning.

Ruckel answered in the bottom half with six runs on six hits. Jaxon Topel and Kaden Geisler each belted homers for the Rams.

In the second, neither team scored.

In the top of the third, Destin went down on a ground out and a pair of strike outs.

Ruckel added one more in the third on a solo home run by Geisler, his second of the day, for a 7-1 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Destin got back in the game with three runs. Murphy walked and Jackson Smith singled. Edelman smacked a home run for three RBIs and a 7-4 game.

However, the bottom of the fourth was the end all for Destin. The Rams exploded for 11 runs on six hits. Brady Koger and Aidan McCarthy each hit home runs.

In the top of the fifth, Destin’s Jackson Crews hit a single deep to left but was left stranded when the next batter struck out and then the Rams pulled off a double play to end the game.