By PATRICK CASEY
Walton junior pitcher Brendan Leach tossed a one-hitter as the Braves posted a 7-0 shutout win at Freeport on Thursday night.
Leach struck out 15 batters on the night as he tossed a complete game as the visiting team picked up their first win of the year.
Walton struck for three runs in the top of the third inning as Brandon Hollingsworth provided a key double after a Liam Miller single to plate the Braves first run. Zach Burgess drove in a run with one of his three singles on the night while a wild pitch helped plate another run in the inning.
The Braves put another run on the board in the fourth inning with the help of a Freeport error, then pushed the lead to 7-0 with three more runs in the fifth inning. Leach, Hollingsworth and Burgess all provided singles after Angus Anderson drew a walk to lead off the inning.
Freeport used four pitchers on the night with Kevin Caudill taking the loss while recording eight outs in the contest. Michael Graziani pitched the final two innings and had the most success as he allowed only two hits while striking out four.
Freeport could not solve Leach’s pitching as the Braves junior needed approximately 110 pitches to finish up the seven inning affair. Caudill provided the only hit of the night for Freeport with a fifth inning single.
Leach had both of Walton’s errors on the night as a pair of pick-off attempts got away from Walton but the Braves got Jake Fannin trying to go from first to third on the relay in the second inning to end that scoring threat. Leach never had to face more than four batters in any inning and struck out the side in both the first and last inning of the contest.
Walton evened their record at 2-2 with a 13-8 win at Baker on Friday night while Freeport rode a strong performance by Graziani to edge South Walton 4-3 in a tight win at home to also improve to 2-2.
Team Notes: Walton will not play their first home baseball game until a March 7 date with Jay. The Braves have their first six varsity games of the season on the road. Leach pitched a no-hitter in a five inning win over Rocky Bayou last season. The Braves had 10 hits in the win over Freeport. The Bulldogs varsity will be on the road until a March 24 date with Jay. Walton won the junior varsity game over Freeport 6-2.