Chaminade's batters weren't catching up with St. Anthony's pitcher Brandon Cruz, so Luke Zeccola changed his approach.

And Chaminade pitcher Brendan Spagnuolo wasn't locating his fastball, but he figured it out between trips to the hill.

The Friars threatened and threatened in the final innings, drawing to within a run. Relief pitchers Conor Donachie and Frank Sommers learned from Spagnuolo's missteps and shut them down.

There was a whole lot of interactive learning Wednesday in Chaminade's season opener, but if the 4-3 win, propelled by some gutsy pitching and Zeccola's two-run triple was any indication, these Flyers passed with flying colors.

"This is our first real game where it was a nice day out," said Spagnuolo, who was wild but effective in five innings of four-hit ball. "It took an inning or two, but once everyone got back into it, that's when we started hitting."

Tied at 1 with one out in the bottom of the third, Zeccola stayed back on a Cruz fastball and drove a long ball to right, chasing home Straton Podaras and Dan Kerning from first and third. Both had singled.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Cruz's fastball is very fast," Zeccola said. "So I definitely was just trying to choke up a little on the bat and meet the ball. I was fortunate enough to meet one and it just took off."

St. Anthony's drew within 3-2 in the fifth, when Jimmy Gentile, hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on Ryan Coulon's single to left.

Spagnuolo, the hard-throwing righty, allowed four walks and struck out six, with two wild pitches.

For the first few innings, "I fell behind in my fastball," he said. "I was able to work more in between innings, develop my fastball, establish that and I was able to stick more with it."

Podaras scored on a groundout to give Chaminade a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth, but St. Anthony's came charging back against Donachie in the sixth.

A single and an error set the stage for Jordan Behr, who hit a sacrifice fly to right to draw the Friars within one.

"But I started mentally preparing in the bullpen," Donachie said. "I love to keep it calm on the mound."

With two outs, Donachie induced a flyout to end the threat. In the seventh, Sommers retired the side in order.

"I talked to Brendan before and he said pound the zone," Sommers said. "I was able to locate my fastball really well. I learned from his mistakes and I learned from what he did best."

Lessons learned.