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