Destin girls to play for championship

Tina Harbuck

After losing to Niceville earlier in the week, the Destin All-Stars battled back to defeat the unbeaten Niceville team 12-11 in the Florida District 1 Machine Pitch Softball tournament in Niceville Thursday night.

“They beat us good,” said Destin Coach Brandon Patzig about the earlier 16-9 loss to Niceville.

However, the Destin All-Stars came back from the loser’s bracket with a 16-6 win over Tri-County in five innings to get another shot at Niceville.

This time, Destin was ready.

“We started off strong when we normally start off slow … that was the sole difference,” Patzig said.

Destin shut Niceville down in the top of the first.

“Our defense is legit … and then we put up five runs. That’s what gave us the confidence. We came out of the gate hard and jumped on them and never looked back,” Patzig said.

Scoring those first five runs were Gretchen Kirby, Macy Borgen, Shelby Plaiser, Anna Beyhl and Kate Jannazo.

In the top of the second, Destin again shut Niceville down.

In the third, Niceville finally got on the board with one run.

In the top of the fourth, Niceville evened the score with four runs.

Destin got the advantage back quickly with four runs in the bottom half. Scoring were Plaiser, Jannazo, Casey Cieutat and Ansley Mueller.

In the fifth, Destin put up three more runs for a 12-5 ball game.

In the top of the sixth, Niceville threatened but Destin stopped them at six runs for the win.

“Our defense was the only reason we won this game,” Patzig said. “Don’t get me wrong, we scored a lot of runs and obviously there’s something to be said about our hard base running and our hitting, but a holding a good team like Niceville to 11 runs is big."

Destin will have to come back and play Niceville again in the double-elimination tournament for the title.

“Softball is a lot mental and the girls now know they can beat them,” Patzig said. “I think if we start off strong like we’re supposed to, I think it’s going to be close because Niceville is coached well and they have really good girls.

“But I think in the end if we start strong and do what we’re supposed to and keep errors at a minimum, I think we’re going to be fine,” he added.

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