Destin Marlins bomb Ruckel, then Pryor

Tina Harbuck

The Destin Marlins appear to be hitting their stride, posting back-to-back victories on the road this week in middle school baseball.

On Monday the Marlins revenged a 20-0 loss from a couple of weeks ago with a 5-3 victory over the Ruckel Rams on their ball field in Niceville.

Then on Wednesday they took down the Pryor Pirates in Fort Walton Beach 13-1.

“They are headed in the right direction,” said Destin Coach Matthew Cawthon.

“Offensively and defensively the guys are playing hungry. This is a completely different team than two weeks ago.

“We have a bunch of really good guys," Cawthon added. "They just have to bring their best to the park everyday and leave it all on the field."

Against the Rams, Destin connected for seven hits with Zander Davis leading the effort with two shots out of the park, one in the first and one in the third for a total of four RBIs.

Donovan Monsees had two hits against the Rams for an RBI, while Caleb Reeder, Wyatt Wainwright and Gavin Garrity each connected for one.

Destin put three runs on the board in the first and then two in the third.

Ruckel scored all three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

“The defense played lights out and kept Alex (Kruse) cruising all game long,” Cawthon said.

“It was a heck of a team effort,” he added.

Kruse went the distance on the mound for the Marlins. He faced 27 batters, gave up five hits and struck out five.

“The pitching was fantastic once again. Alex Kruse threw a gem. The kid has a ton of heart.”

On Wednesday, the Marlins dominated against the Pryor Pirates to put them away in five innings, 13-1.

Reeder was the big stick against Pryor, going four-for-four at bat with a home run blast over the left field fence.

“It was a 0-2 count … and a curve ball,” said the eighth grader.

When asked if he thought it was going to clear the fence, he immediately replied with a smile, “Yes."

Reeder wasn’t the only Marlin to connect for multiple hits against Pryor.

Monsees, Davis and Dylan Matekovich each connected for two hits. Others with one each were Noah Wright, Ethan Davis and Garrity.

Destin put six runs on the board in the first inning on four hits.

In the second they picked up two more runs, one on the solo blast from Reeder, his third of the season, and the other scored on a hit from Garrity.

The Marlins went on to score three in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Pryor scored its only run in the fourth.

Matekovich pitched the first four innings against Pryor giving up only two hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Monsees finished up in the fifth, striking out two of three batters faced.

Up next for Destin is 4 p.m. game on March 27 in Valparaiso against the Lewis Falcons.

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