Another dominant performance for Seton LaSalle in 2A baseball semifinals

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 7:29 PM

Veteran Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda didn’t have much to say after his team lost to Seton LaSalle in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals at West Mifflin, but what he did share said it all.

“They were just better than us.”

Seton LaSalle dominated all aspects of the game in beating Serra Catholic, 12-0, in five innings Tuesday.

The game was a rematch of the 2019 district final, also won by the Rebels.

“We have certain goals we want to hit this year,” Seton LaSalle coach Mike Wagner said. “Getting back to (the finals) is what we wanted to do and to make a run at states because we came up short two years ago. This was a game we knew we had to win to keep working towards those goals at the end of the year.”

Knowing it had to play a near-perfect game against a top-seeded Seton LaSalle team that has 10-run ruled opponents in six of its last seven wins, including a 15-0 drubbing of California in the quarterfinals, things did not start well for Serra Catholic.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, an error kept the inning alive and junior Brian Vogel made the Eagles pay with a two-run homer over the left field fence.

“We talked to the kids all year. When other teams make mistakes, you have to pounce on them,” Wagner said. “Vogel with the two-out home run, if we get out of that inning and its 0-0 after one, they have momentum and are feeling great about themselves. We get a two-run home run. It changes the whole dynamic of the game.”

The Rebels used some more two-out magic in the bottom of the second inning.

Senior Evan Henke and junior Mike LoCastro singled. Sandwiched in between outs, junior Gabe Finale was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Freshman Gio LoNero cleared the bases with a double to left-center field and the lead increased to 5-0.

Meanwhile, Rebels starting pitcher Sam Georgiana was cranking up the juice on his fastball and keeping the Eagles off the board.

He finished allowing a leadoff single to Serra senior Jayden Mertz as the only hit. He walked three and struck out seven in lowering his microscopic ERA to 1.05.

“He’s just been phenomenal all year,” Wagner said. “He’s wanted this moment forever. Two years ago, he was kind of like our second guy to (Drew) Lafferty, and he wanted to be the No. 1 in the worst way. He’s worked his butt off the last two years, and he’s really grown up mentally and matured on the mound.”

Seton LaSalle put the game away in the bottom of the fourth inning by scoring seven runs on only three hits. There were two Serra Catholic errors, and four Eagles pitchers walked six batters and hit two.

LoNero had three RBIs to lead the Rebels while Vogel and senior Cam Colwell drove home two runs each.

The season is not over for Serra Catholic (18-4). The Eagles have qualified for the PIAA playoffs and will either be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed out of the WPIAL in the Class 2A state playoffs.

The Rebels have now outscored their three WPIAL playoff opponents — Bentworth, California and Serra Catholic — 32-0.

Seton LaSalle (21-2) will try for its second straight and third WPIAL baseball crown over next Tuesday or Wednesday when they face No. 2 seed Shenango at Wild Things Park in Washington.

“It comes down to execution,” Wagner said. “If we go out and play our game and we hit like we can and we pitch like we can and play defense like we can, we’re going to be tough to beat. I know Shenango’s coach (Larry Kelly) is a really good coach.”

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