BRADENTON — Michael Suchy has communicated often with his Southeast High football teammates. They’ve talked through text messages, phone conversations and MySpace.com.
But he hasn’t seen them or worked out with his Seminoles mates since spring practice ended.
This summer, Suchy’s focus has been all about baseball.
“I’ve had to devote six days out of the week, all day, every day, basically,” Suchy said. “As far as football workouts, I’m working out everyday here, and I’m still getting stronger, so I’m appreciating it.”
Yes, Suchy, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound defensive end, turned in a heck of a season for Southeast last year, earning All-Area honorable-mention honors as a sophomore, and yes, when the time does come — and it’s coming soon — Suchy will most likely be highly recruited by some of the top Division I college football programs in the nation. But the soft-spoken youngster’s first love is baseball.
And he’s not bad at it.
Suchy, a third baseman, was a first-team All-Area selection this past spring on the diamond after racking up a .395 batting average, 11 RBIs and seven doubles.
And he’s continued to excel as a member of IMG Academy baseball program’s Wood Bat League.
Suchy is the Conquistadors’ second-leading hitter with a .354 batting average, and he’s tops on the team with 15 RBIs.
On a recent sun-drenched Saturday afternoon, Suchy played every position on the diamond and closed the game on the mound, where he allowed a triple to the leadoff hitter but followed with two strikeouts and a ground out in his team’s victory.
He has a 1.75 ERA in eight innings pitched this summer.
“Baseball is what I want to do in the future,” he said. “This has really gotten me better than what I would have been.”
Suchy’s IMG Academy baseball program coach, Jason Elias, refers to the rising junior as “a coach’s dream to have on the field.”
“He brings it every day,” Elias said. “He’s mentally tough, and he’s a good hitter. There are some things we need to clean up offensively, but he likes to get dirty, and he will go out and compete every day.”
Suchy’s attitude and work ethic are the reason Southeast coach Paul Maechtle isn’t fretting about him being away for nearly three months.
“Since I know exactly where he is,” Maechtle said about Suchy, who will also play tight end in the fall, “and exactly what he’s doing, I know how hard he’s working over there. As long as he’s staying in shape and lifting weights and getting stronger for the positions he’s going to play for us, I think it’s good. I don’t have a problem with it.”
Suchy helped anchor a Noles defense that carried the team into the Class 4A state playoffs last season, so make no mistake about it, he is ready to return to the gridiron.
“Football gets me in the best shape of my life,” Suchy said. “And if I’m going to play it in high school, I might as well crack some heads while in there.”