Lady Marlins finish strong with second place

Tina Harbuck

Although they lost, the Destin Marlins didn’t go down without a fight.

Destin lost 8-2 to the Ruckel Rams in the championship game of the Okaloosa County Middle School Softball Tournament Wednesday afternoon in Niceville.

“The girls in my book did very well,” said Destin Coach Brittany Cahoon. “Mary (Owens) did an amazing job for us on the mound once again.”

Owens, a sixth grader, went the distance on the mound. She scattered six hits, struck out one and walked six.

Destin put the bat on the ball for six hits as well.

“Our bats were there. We hit the ball and even though we made errors. They still were making the hard plays in the seventh inning. They never let their heads get down and continued to fight until the last out,” Cahoon said.

Eighth grader Braden Runnels led the Destin sticks with two hits. Others with one hit each were Samantha Sherer, Bailey Phillips, Miranda Treadway and Makenzie Toth.

Destin put the bat on the ball early pounding out four hits in the first inning. Sherer, Phillips, Runnels and Treadway hit back-to-back singles with Sherer and Phillips scoring before the Rams defense shut them down.

Ruckel got the advantage back in the bottom half on two hits and three runs. Emma Langston doubled and scored on a triple deep to left field by Riley Gibson. Hannah Massey walked and scored on a fielder’s choice by Lindsey Lesher. Destin shortstop Phillips fielded a grounder for an out as did Owens on the mound.

In the second, Ruckel picked up three more runs. Destin’s second baseman, Sherer dove for a grounder and then made the throw to first for an out and Phillips made a catch for the second out. Gibson ripped a triple and scored on a double by Massey. Alexa Saucedo walked then Lesher doubled to right for two RBIs. Sherer fielded another grounder to end the inning.

In the third, neither team scored.

In the fourth, Ruckel picked up one more run on a single and an error. Gibson singled and scored on an error for a 7-2 game.

In the top of the fifth with two outs, Runnels ripped a single to left field but was left stranded when the next batter hit a line drive for an out.

Ruckel scored one last run in the bottom of the fifth on a few Destin errors.

“I wish we could have ended the season as county champs but we finished strong and hard with second place,” Cahoon said. “I am very, very proud of them.”