BROOKSVILLE — It was a heck of a way for former major-league reliever John Frascatore to begin his career as Nature Coast coach. His team came through with a big 3-2 victory over rival Hernando in eight innings Tuesday night.
"It's always nice to get the first win under your belt," Frascatore said. "It's important to clear the cobwebs and move on to the next game."
Nature Coast (1-0) never led until the winning run crossed the plate in the bottom of the eighth in the form of leftfield leadoff man Danny Colon (1-for-3, one walk, one stolen base). He scored on a wild pitch from Hernando reliever Robbie Lane.
Hernando (0-1) had momentum up until that point in the pitchers' duel. The combination of starting pitcher Clayton Neff (four innings, four strikeouts, one earned run) and middle reliever Austin McNeal (three innings, two earned runs) kept the Leopards ahead most of the game.
McNeal was on the mound with one out in the bottom of the seventh when Nature Coast first baseman Eddie Castro (1-for-2, one walk) crossed the plate on a fielder's choice off the bat of centerfielder John Russell (0-for-2, one RBI).
Sharks starter Eric Adams was strong for five innings with nine strikeouts. He allowed both runs, one unearned. By the time Gene Rittenberry (three innings, two strikeouts) entered for the decision, Nature Coast had found its groove offensively.