Destin Marlins win one, lose one with Ruckel Rams in softball

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After blasting the Ruckel Rams 16-3 at home last week, the Destin Marlins lost a nail-biter on Monday, 11-10 to Ruckel in Niceville in girls softball action. 

“I’m really proud of us at the plate,” Destin coach Kati O’Brian said as she walked off the field in Niceville. 

“We played long ball. We played small ball. We pushed across runs on squeeze bunts. We stole bases. We had sacrifice bunts to move runners. We really tore it up on offense,” she said. 

Destin shortstop Anita Palmer tags second for an out and goes for a double play against the Ruckel Rams. Destin lost 11-10.

"Defensively, Izzy (Douglas) pitched a heck of game. It was just really toe-to-toe with two good offensive teams,” O’Brian added. 

Douglas struck out eight, walked six and gave up five hits. 

“Truth be told …. it came down to the last inning and we had a couple of errors," O’Brian said.  

“That’s why I preach defense, defense, defense to my girls. … Sometimes the game will come down to a defensive circumstance,” she said. 

Ruckel got on the board first with one run in the first inning. Emma Kowal singled and scored on a hit from Emma Sites. 

In the top of the second, the Marlins stepped into the lead with three runs on four hits. Douglas led with a single to right. Anita Palmer, Kendra Ayers and Macy Borgen hit back-to-back-to-back singles to put Destin up 3-1. 

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Ruckel evened the score in the bottom half with two runs scored on a hit and an error. 

In the bottom of the third, Ruckel edged ahead with two runs on a pair of walks and stolen bases for a 5-3 advantage. 

Destin second baseman Macy Borgen makes the throw to first baseman Mykean Pope for an out against the Ruckel Rams. Destin lost in the last inning, 11-10.

Destin came roaring back in the top of the fourth with four runs. Gretchen Kirby walked and scored. Ayers singled and Borgen put down a bunt single for an RBI. Annabelle Shackelford and Mykean Pope each walked to load the bases. Douglas stepped up and ripped a single up the middle for two RBIs and a 7-5 lead. 

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Ruckel, not giving up, scored three in the bottom half. Samantha Koscho belted a triple to left field for two RBIs. Sites hit a sacrifice fly to score the other run. Ruckel led 8-7. 

Destin knotted the score again in the top of the fifth. Kirby singled to right center and scored on a shot from Borgen. 

In the top of the seventh, Destin pulled ahead with two runs. Borgen put down a bunt and reached on an error. Shackelford walked and Pope reached on an error, with Borgen scoring. Douglas walked then Shelby Plasier hit a fielder’s choice with Shackelford scoring for a 10-8 lead. 

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In the bottom of the seventh, the wheels fell off for Destin. Ruckel scored three runs off no hits, just Destin errors. 

“We’re going to see them one more time and it’s going to be in our house,” O’Brian said.  

Destin's Mykean Pope tries to block a throw to first against the Ruckel Rams. Ruckel went on to win the game 11-10.

Because of the pandemic, the middle schools are not having a playoff at the end of the season. The county championship will be determined by wins and losses during the season. However, the first games with opponents do not count.  

“When you play a team twice or more, it’s the last game that counts,” O’Brian said. 

As for last week, Destin put the Ruckel Rams away at home 16-3. 

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“Our bats came alive in the second inning and we scored six runs, never looking back to gain a total of 16 throughout the remainder of the game,” O’Brian said. 

Hannah Isham and Douglas each had two hits, while Shackelford, Plasier and Pope each had one hit in the game. 

“We forced a lot of errors just by putting the bat on the ball and utilizing the short game with bunts to push runners into scoring position. There was no holding our girls back on the bases. They were turning and burning,” O’Brian said. 

The defense was strong, with one error and a total of 14 put-outs. Douglas pitched a no-hitter, struck out five and gave up only one earned run. 

Up next for Destin, 2-1, is a 4:30 p.m. game March 23 at Bruner Middle School in Fort Walton Beach.