Destin Marlins fall to Ruckel Rams in baseball season opener

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After holding the Rams in check for five innings, Ruckel rallied in the last two innings to post a 10-1 victory over the Destin Marlins in middle school baseball action Thursday afternoon in Destin. 

“I saw some rust on the defensive side … a lot of routine plays we let go, but that’s just the game of baseball. Sometimes when it rains it pours,” said Destin Coach Matthew Cawthon. 

Destin's Vance Kirby  gets a pat on the back from his teammate Brody Ray after he smacked a home run in the bottom of the seventh against Ruckel.

As for the bats, “We hit the ball pretty well the first four to five innings of the game, just the ball right at them, but again that’s baseball. But we’ve got to do better with our effort for the whole game. Our older guys have got to step up and play to their ability,” he said. 

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Ruckel scored two runs in the first inning on a home-run shot by Deacon Avery. But then the Marlins held them scoreless for four innings. 

Destin Marlin shortstop Jordan Figueroa jumps to make the catch but misses and a Ruckel Ram slides in safe at second.

In the sixth, Ruckel put five runs on the board. Carter Phillips slapped a home run for two RBIs. Boone Watson and Boston Browning each got hits and Thomas Radliff hit a sacrifice for an RBI. 

In the top of the seventh, Ruckel added three more. Avery singled and scored on a single by Phillips. Jayden Cunningham cranked one over the left centerfield fence for two RBIs and a 10-0 lead. 

Destin's Brody Ray plays off second base, looking for a steal. Ray had two hits in the loss to the Ruckel Rams.

Destin finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run shot by Vance Kirby that cleared the centerfield fence. The homer was Kirby’s second hit of the day. In the second inning he doubled down the third baseline. 

Other Marlins with hits were Brody Ray with two and Jordan Figueroa, one. 

Destin Marlin catcher Landon Ullrich makes a dive at the plate to make the tag, but drops the ball in the process.

“When we get runners on, we just got to capitalize on it. We hit a lot of really good balls. I think I counted eight solids ball we hit. We just got to find a way for them to fall,” Cawthon said.  

As for pitching, coach said, “We pitched the ball really well … had a couple of bad pitches but overall, I thought we pitched really well.” 

Jace Cunningham pitched the first five innings for the Destin Marlins. He struck out eight and gave up two hits and no walks.

Jace Cunningham pitched the first five innings, struck out eight, gave up no walks and two hits. Kirby finished the last two innings. He struck out one, walked two and gave up six hits.  

“It was our first game, a little bit of nerves, but we’ll get better,” Cawthon said.