Destin Marlin baseball team is ready to get on the diamond, season opener is March 8

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After basically having no season last year, the Destin Middle School Marlin baseball team is ready to get back on the diamond. 

The Marlins got in about four games last season before breaking for Spring Break. During the break, COVID-19 swept in and the players never got on the field again. 

However, they hit the practice field last week in preparation for the upcoming season that will swing into action March 8. The Marlins will host the Meigs Wildcats of Shalimar at 3:45 p.m. 

Destin sixth-grader Brody Ray makes a play from third base during a recent practice.

The Marlins are returning a lot of guys and “They are pretty antsy. … They’re excited and ready to get at it,’ said Destin baseball coach Matt Cawthon. 

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Out of the 18 players on the roster, 13 are returnees. Destin lost about six players to graduation. 

Cawthon said the team is pretty even this year, with half of the team eighth-graders and the other half seventh- and sixth-graders. 

Destin Middle School baseball coach Matt Cawthon gives instruction during practice. The Marlins open up on March 8 at home.

Eighth-graders on the team are Luke Henderson, Zachary Clark, Austin McDowell, Logan Reeder, Owen Davis, Wyatt Wainwright, Christian Erlich and Will Blanchard. Seventh-graders are Griffin Cann, Caleb Wright, Palmer Robbins, Vance Kirby, Jace Cunningham, Landon Ullrich and Jordan Figueroa. Sixth-graders are Brody Ray, Caden Job and Cannon Wilbur. 

“They’re an energetic bunch,” Cawthon said. 

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“These guys have been playing together for a few years, whether here or on traveling teams, so they’re pretty familiar with one another,” he said. 

And after almost a week of practice, Cawthon said he’s seen a lot of good things as well as a few they have to work on. 

“But this will be a fun bunch to watch,” he said. 

Jace Cunningham makes a throw to first during a recent practice at Destin Middle School. Cunningham is a returning seventh-grader.

“All around, we’re pretty solid. But defensively is what really sticks out,” Cawthon said. “Everywhere on the field, we’re going to play good ball.”

Cawthon said their timing and turning double plays is already shaping up.  

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“They really didn’t miss a beat. Overall, we’re real surprised and pleased,” Cawthon said. 

As for the bats, the Marlins look to be strong.  

“We’ve got a few guys that’s got some pop,” Cawthon said, noting that the boys have been putting the ball in play quite well during scrimmages. 

Destin should do well in the pitching department as well. 

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“We will probably be deeper pitching than I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Cawthon said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that will see a lot of hill time.”

The Destin Marlins will be deep in their pitching staff this season. Pictured here are just a few, from left, Wyatt Wainwright, Will Blanchard and Owen Davis.

Some of the guys included in the pitching rotation will be Davis, Wainwright, Cunningham, McDowell, Kirby, Erlich and Blanchard. 

“I think we will be a well-rounded team,” Cawthon said. 

As for a weakness, Cawthon said, “I don’t know if I’d call it weak, but we’ve got to brush up on the situational stuff … which is typical with the first week with any team.  

“We just need to get the reps in,” he said.