Destin brings home first-ever district banner

Tina Harbuck

The Destin All-Star machine pitch softball team is Florida District 1 champions, and they’ve got the banner to prove it.

After three rainouts and rescheduling of the championship game, the Destin All-Stars beat Niceville 9-3 to take the title Tuesday night in Niceville.

Securing the district banner is a first for the machine pitch softball program in Destin.

“I hope they understand how big of a deal this is,” said Destin Coach Brandon Patzig. “Destin has never hung, ever — since the softball program has been alive — has never hung a banner. And today we get to hang a banner.”

For Shelby Plasier, who’s been in the program for the past three years, she get’s it.

“It’s amazing, we haven’t ever done it — ever,” Plasier said. “And it’s my last year, so it was the perfect time.”

Destin got on the board early with one run in the top of the first with Gretchen Kirby hitting a single to left and then scoring on a hit from Macy Borgen.

In the bottom half, Niceville answered with three runs.

Destin evened the score in the top of the second with two runs on three hits. Kate Jannazo, Anna Beyhl and Casey Cieutat each hit singles.

At that point, Destin shut Niceville down. Kendra Ayers at shortstop fielded a grounder for an out, Macy Borgen grabbed a grounder for a throw to first for an out and Plasier, at third, fielded a ground ball for a put out.

In the top of the third, Destin pulled away on an inside-the-park grand slam from Plasier. With one out, Ayers singled up the middle. The next batter struck out before Kirby singled to left center. Borgen put down a bunt to load the bases. Up next, Plasier blasted a shot to centerfield to clear the bases. Destin led 7-3.

In the bottom half, Destin didn’t give an inch, shutting Niceville down, three up three down.

Destin picked up one run in the fourth and one in the fifth. Beyhl doubled to left and scored on a grounder by Kira Shock in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Mia Divens reached on an error and scored on a groundout from Ayers.

In the last inning, Niceville threatened with a couple of runners on base. However, Destin shut them down with first baseman Beyhl pulling off an unassisted double play to end the game.

Not fully realizing what she did, Beyhl was still excited.

“I don’t know … I mean I did it,” she said. “I was really happy. It was awesome.”

When the Niceville batter stepped in the box, Beyhl said all she thought was “get the ball, get the out.”

And that she did. Beyhl made the catch and then caught the runner off first for the double play.

“Defense, without an absolute doubt, is what won the game,” said Coach Patzig. “These girls have worked their butts off … they deserve everything they get.”

For Plasier, the win and catching a foul ball for an out got her an ice cream.