Leto senior Christian Suarez struck out nine earning his first win of the season. 

By Jarrett Guthrie, Editor

TAMPA – Leto righty Christian Suarez, like a kid with his favorite toy, showed off the bender with strike-three regularity as the Falcons scratched out a first-inning run and held on for a narrow, 1-0 win over visiting Steinbrenner on Thursday night.

Suarez, who was an All-813Preps First Team selection last season and went 11-0, while helping the Falcons to a district title and Class 7A state semifinal berth, scattered nine strikeouts to earn the win on the mound – seven of them coming thanks to his curveball. However, he admitted after his outing, that he may have been a bit excited for the first game and might need to rely a little bit more on his defense moving forward.

“At the beginning of the game I was spinning (the curveball) well and they were sitting fastball the whole time,” Suarez said. “… I love spinning that. I love seeing guys step out of the box and it drops in for a strike, but at the end of the day, I have to be a little smarter and let one of the best defenses in the county do its job behind me.”


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Leto (1-0) got the deciding run in the bottom of the first as three Steinbrenner miscues proved disastrous. Falcons two-hole hitter Damien Breton hit a slow roller toward the hole between first and second and legged out a single, but reached second when a glove flip by starting pitcher Bryce Leonhardt got away from the first baseman, Javy Hernandez moved Breton over on a sac bunt, which allowed the batter to reach on a second error, and Breton scored on a passed ball a few pitches later.

The unearned run, though costly was the only damage the Warriors would allow on the scoreboard.

Warriors catcher Griffin Garcia. 

Mike Camacho tripled the next inning for Leto, but was erased trying to take home on a weak chopper to third baseman Jacob Bluffstone, who came home with the throw for the out.

Warriors catcher Griffin Garcia ended the frame with a strong throw to second to catch a would-be base stealer two pitches later.

Leonhardt, a Flagler College signee, worked four complete, allowing the unearned run, on three hits and striking out four to take the loss.

Steinbrenner looked like it could have a big inning in the sixth as Mikey Mullins lead off with a double, and a walk gave the Warriors a pair of runners. However, another Suarez curveball went across for a check-swing, called strike three, and a bang-bang play at second base also went the Falcons way to stymie the would-be rally. Tommy Malouf had a double to the centerfield wall in the fourth for the Warriors only extra-base hit of the game.

Steinbrenner senior Bryce Leonhardt took a tough loss in the game, pitching four innings and allowing one unearned run. 

Suarez worked steady for six-plus innings on the mound, but couldn’t quite close the door, striking out the first batter he faced in the seventh, before hitting a batter, walking a second and turning things over to Julio Acosta who finished the game’s final two outs stranding the tying run at third.