EAST LAKE — The thought sends shivers up the spine of Pinellas County teams.
The Dunedin Falcons were supposed to be in mothballs now, packed away in their place in lore as the team that finally came home with a state title last year.
Many thought the Class 5A defending state champions were going to run up the white flag after losing eight of nine starters to graduation.
But Dunedin is alive — and hitting.
Against 5A, District 9 rival East Lake, the Falcons 5-2 started off strong Friday then held on for a 6-2 victory.
Dunedin's big inning came in the first when it scored all of its runs after batting around and chasing Eagles starter Brian Johnson.
The scoring surge started on Casey Turgeon's two-run homer.
"I was behind in the count and their pitcher just threw one over the plate," Turgeon said. "I guess he made a mistake and I was able to get a hold of it."
The Falcons' other key hits in the inning were Ben Emery's run-scoring double and Jordan Savinon's two-run double.
The lead was more than enough for Dunedin starter Alex Norris, who allowed two hits and struck out seven.
"It was nice to go out there with that kind of a cushion," Norris said. "But I still approached the game as if it were 0-0. I felt like I had good command, and my defense did a great job back there for me."
Norris had a shutout through the first four innings. In the fifth, the Eagles (7-3) scored on a sacrifice fly by Will Fulmer that brought home Billy Nugent and an error to bring in Ryan Hughes.
The Falcons' win came two days after an extra-innings loss to Palm Harbor University.
"This was huge for us," Turgeon said. "I think we were able to learn from that loss earlier this week and show what we are made of."
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.