Destin Little League All Stars capture the District 1 banner with three straight wins
It was a battle, but they got it done in three games.
The Destin 10-12 Little League All Stars brought home the District 1 banner Wednesday night with a 6-2 victory over Shalimar Little League in the championship game.
Members of the championship team include Bentlee Bailey, McCarver Dahlman, Cam Goins, Brody Ray, Ethan Thomas, Quentin Saviola, Stephen Riggs, Will Wortman, Cannon Wilbur and Chase Wandrick.
What won it?
“Pitching,” said Destin coach Matt Dahlman.
“Cannon Wilbur was on fire on the mound tonight. … Cannon was on fire the whole tournament,” Dahlman said after the team gathered around for some photos following the championship game in Shalimar.
Wilbur almost went the distance in the championship game.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Wilbur had hit the 85-pitch count limit for that age group, and had to give way to Ethan Thomas, who came in and sat down the next batter for the win.
“I just felt like I was doing good,” Wilbur said, noting he likes to throw the fast ball. “It felt good to do the whole game but one out.”
Dahlman had nothing but praise for Wilbur.
"He closed the first game out. He closed the second game out when things got tight. And then he just pitched his butt off tonight,” he said.
Wilbur is just one of three 12-year-old players on the young Destin All Star team. The other two are Brody Ray and Chase Wandrick.
“All three of our 12-year-olds is what won this tournament,” Dahlman said.
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“Brody shut it down in the first game with five innings pitched. Cannon shut down this game and the other two," he added. "And Chase Wandrick made four or five big plays in right field.
“They all stepped up big,” Dahlman said.
In the first game of the tournament, Destin beat Shalimar 3-2. Ray pitched five innings, striking out 10 and giving up one earned run. Wilbur closed it out in the sixth with three strikeouts.
Wilbur and Will Wortman had RBI doubles and Ethan Thomas had an RBI single. McCarver, Dahlman and Cam Goins each had a single.
In the second game, Destin defeated Niceville 12-8.
Then on Wednesday, they went head-to-head with Shalimar again and pulled out the 6-2 win.
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In the third inning, Wortman made two big plays at first base for Destin to keep Shalimar in check. He stretched out in the dirt to make a stop on the ball and then reached back to the bag to get the out, then made a catch on a foul ball. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of three.
In the fourth, Destin pushed in a run to go up 3-2.
In the fifth, Destin reached on a couple of errors, then Ray singled. With the bases loaded, Wortman drew a walk with Cam Goins scoring for a 4-2 lead.
Destin quickly sat down Shalimar in the bottom of the fifth with two pop flies and a strikeout by Wilbur.
In the top of the sixth, Destin scored two more runs. Wandrick was hit by a pitch, his fifth time in the tournament. Bentlee Bailey reached on an error and Quentin Saviola walked to load the bases. The next batter popped up for an out, then Wilbur hit a shot past the second baseman to drive in two runs.
Destin again sat down Shalimar quickly in the bottom of the sixth for the win.
“This was a big win for Destin,” Dahlman said. “This is the fourth banner for Destin this year.”
The Destin 8-9 team won the district, the 8-10-year-old team won, the intermediate team won, and now the 10-12-year-old team won.
“As a board member, I’m proud of just the entire league,” Dalhman said.
As for the 10-12-year-old team, “We’re going to keep working and get ready for section,” Dalhman said.
The Section tournament is scheduled to begin July 10 at Shalimar. It will be the best out of three games against the winner of District 20.