Destin Marlins clip Lewis Falcons

Tina Harbuck
Ava Smith, center, holds up the ball she hit out of the park against Lewis on Wednesday. Wishing her well are Coach Kati O'Brian, left, and assistant coach Evelyn Hardin. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

The Destin Marlins finished strong to post a 15-4 win over the Lewis Falcons in middle school softball action Wednesday afternoon in Valparaiso.

“Our girls played tremendously well,” said Destin Coach Kati O’Brian.

“Between our pitching and defense I was very happy with our performance as we held the Falcons to one run until the bottom of the sixth.

“The first few innings I called a lot of signs to execute the short game with bunts but Lewis’ third baseman was all over it and we were struggling pretty bad,” O’Brian said.

But as soon as O’Brian told the girls to bat right handed and “let it rip,” they did. Destin collected a dozen hits.

“The ironic part for me was the less I coached and tried to control the game the better our girls hit … and there was no stopping them once we got it going,” she said.

After a scoreless first inning, Destin’s Ava Smith clobbered a solo home run over the fence to put the Marlins on the board in the second inning.

In the third, Destin picked up one more run. Ashlynn Priest scored on a single from Hannah Isham.

Lewis answered in the bottom half with one run.

In the fifth inning, the Destin bats came alive. MJ Toth, Olivia Payne, Brody Hlavaty, Blakely York and Smith each connected for a hit with five runs scoring.

In the top of the sixth, Destin exploded for eight runs with Toth, Smith, York and Isham each putting the bat on the ball for a 15-1 advantage.

Lewis scored three last runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Up next for the Destin Marlins is a 4 p.m. game at home Monday against Baker Middle.