BRANDON — Brandon High baseball coach Matt Stallbaumer couldn’t have asked for more from left-hander Antonio Velez’s first start of the season.
Hoping to get the lefty about 80 pitches, Velez threw 82 and spun a complete-game shutout, striking out 10, as Brandon won its opener 5-0 over Plant on Tuesday.
Velez, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning, got a defensive lift to get out of his first jam. Then, after loading the bases in the seventh, he worked his way to the complete game with a pop fly and a pair of strikeouts to end it.
“He’s a guy from the left side who is going to mix and match pitches and command the plate,” Stallbaumer said. “High school kids have a tendency to slow down their arms (on different pitches), but he’s just so consistent, same slot, same release point.”
The Eagles plated four runs in the first inning as junior Drayden Williams singled and scored on a Troy Linderman single. Brandon was helped in the inning by three Plant errors, along with four hits (three infield singles), spoiling the opening start for Panthers right-hander Jake Woodford.
Woodford struck out seven in four innings, allowing one earned run.
“I just wanted to go out there quickly and compete,” Velez said. “I wanted to get my team pumped early so they’d go out and get me some runs.”
Jacob Sugden also had an RBI single in the first, and Williams added a double and scored on a passed ball in the second.
Velez allowed his first hit in the fifth to Jake Bak (2-for-3) and two more singles followed, but left fielder Ryan Anderson made a run-saving throw home to keep Plant off the board.