CLEARWATER — East Lake had one big inning in Friday night’s Dunedin Spring Tournament final against Clearwater Central Catholic, but that’s all the Eagles needed.
Starting pitcher Ryan Slater threw a complete-game shutout and struck out seven to help the Eagles to a 3-0 win. They scored all three runs in the second inning.
“I knew it was over," Slater said about getting early runs. “I knew I had them."
The Marauders (3-4) left five runners on base in the first two innings, including the bases loaded in the second. East Lake (7-0) did not do the same.
In the bottom of the second, Slater led off with a walk and Parker Opie followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Sean Murray then cleared the bases with a triple to make it 2-0.
“I got ahead 3-0 and looked at (coach Zack) Roper and he gave me the swing away sign," Murray said. “I fouled it off. I was like, I can’t miss that again. I got it again and let it fly.”
Harrison Rosi singled home Murray and the Eagles had a 3-0 lead.
East Lake did leave the bases loaded in the third but it didn’t end up hurting the Eagles. Not with Slater on the mound.
He spread out two hits and allowed only one base runner in the final five innings. Slater received the pitching award for the tournament.
East Lake had runners on base in each of the final three innings but could not get a key hit. In the bottom of the sixth, Lucas Ismaili drove a ball deep to rightfield with two outs and a runner on second, but Brad Seal made a nice catch to end the inning.
Slater closed out the game with two strikeouts.
Murray was given the tournament’s hitting award. Opie was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“We wanted to win this really bad,” Murray said. “It’s the championship game against a really good opponent.”