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Jesus Flores

Positivity, preparation make Nationals' Suzuki a leader

George Horton ran a college baseball powerhouse at Cal State-Fullerton, the kind of program that had no place for someone like Kurt Suzuki. Horton had never seen or heard of Suzuki before a scout pal mentioned the high schooler in Hawaii.

"We didn't know a whole heck of a lot about him," Horton said. "We heard from our network of friends that this little catcher from Maui wanted to come and walk on at Fullerton."

On an island with 160,000 permanent residents, Suzuki played against five or six high schools. Few scouts noticed. But Fullerton needed a catcher, and there was no risk. Suzuki took the leap from Hawaii to major college baseball as a challenge....