Lady Marlins win the battle over Bulldogs

Tina Harbuck
Destin first baseman Blakely York stands ready to make a play against the Freeport Bulldogs. Destin won the middle school softball game 5-2. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

It was a battle to the end but the Destin Marlins won the war, 5-2, over the Freeport Bulldogs on the road this week in middle school girl’s softball action.

“The Freeport Bulldogs got a good hitting staff and they came out that first inning attacking the ball. But we were able to make the plays we needed to,” said Destin Coach Kati O’Brian.

However, the Bulldogs did capitalize on a couple of big hits from Alexis Newsome for two runs about midway of the game.

“But our pitcher was able to contain her composure and keep battling back to win the overall war … that was the key,” O’Brian said.

“Each batter at the plate is a battle and you’ve got to battle each and every one of them, one pitch at a time, and then you’ve got to win the war,” she added.

Destin seventh grader Ava Smith went the distance in the pitching circle for the Marlins. Smith struck out 11, gave up five hits and walked five across seven innings.

The Marlins jumped on the Bulldogs right out of the gate.

“We attacked early on offense,” O’Brian said.

“I don’t think they expected us to come out bunting and stealing like we did, so we were able to put two runs on the board that first inning,” she added, noting early scoring can rattle a team.

For the night, Destin had 10 hits and 15 stolen bases with MJ Toth leading the sticks with three hits.

In the first inning, Destin scored two runs on four hits.

In the second, the Marlins picked up two more runs. Toth and Ashlyn Priest hit back-to-back singles and scored on a double from Olivia Payne for a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Freeport got on the board on a home run shot to right field from Newsome.

Destin scored one last run in the fifth. Brody Hlavaty walked, stole second and then scored on a ground out from Izzy Douglas.

Freeport’s Newsome scored again, this time on a homer to left. Destin shut the Bulldogs down on a couple of strikeouts from Smith and a throw out by Payne who was in the catcher position.

In the last two innings, both teams got runners on but were left stranded.

Coach O’Brian bragged on Payne after the game. Payne has filled in the last two games at catcher, due to a player out sick and having to do some repositioning.

“Olivia (Payne) threw out at least three or four girls that bunted … she came out sharp. She did a great job behind the plate,” O’Brian said.

She also praised Douglas who played third base.

“She threw the ball hard from that position … and she’s a fifth grader,” O’Brian said.

Up next for the 3-0 Marlins is a 4 p.m. game Monday at home against the Ruckel Rams.

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