Serra Catholic baseball keeps rolling, downs Greensburg Central Catholic

Thursday, May 4, 2023 | 10:38 PM

Serra Catholic’s school colors are maroon and gold, but the Eagles baseball team continues to be back in Black.

Freshman Max Black, the youngest of the three baseball Black brothers, delivered a winning single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning as the top-ranked Class 2A team in the state erased a five-run deficit and beat Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-5, in dramatic fashion Thursday afternoon.

“I was just trying not to put any pressure on myself,” Black said about his at-bat in the seventh inning. “I told myself ‘Be short and poke a ball somewhere and win us a ballgame.’ ”

He did just that to cap a two-run rally in the final inning.

Mark Black is a sophomore at Gardner-Webb, and Zack Black is a junior for the Eagles who has been out with an injury all season. That opened the door for the latest Black to help lead the team.

“He’s a great young man that comes from a great family,” Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. “Zach has become a great mentor for Max and, to be honest, if Zach was playing, Max probably wouldn’t have an at-bat this year. The young man is hitting over .350 as a freshman, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

The game was scoreless through four innings as starting pitchers Ethan Brody, a junior from Greensburg Central Catholic, and senior Zach Karp of Serra Catholic were throwing up zeroes in different forms.

Brody pitched out of trouble several times and ended up with two strikeouts in four innings of work. Through four innings, Karp had given up no hits and struck out eight.

“Ethan Brody is one of the toughest competitors I’ve seen, and he delivered,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach John Boyle said. “Karp had our hitters off-balance for the first few innings, but I loved how we adjusted and delivered timely hits.”

The Centurions’ first hit opened up the floodgates in the top of the fifth inning.

Sophomore Sean Walker beat out a bunt single, followed by back-to-back walks to senior Mike McCready and sophomore Ian Shipley. After a pair of strikeouts, senior Max Kallock doubled home two runs, senior Wade Boyle dropped a perfect bunt single for another run and freshman Anthony Grippo doubled home two more runs to put GCC up 5-0.

The Eagles answered with four runs on only one hit in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Grippo came on in relief and struggled mightily with his control. Against the six batters he faced, he walked three and hit two others. Karp then greeted sophomore Nick O’Mahoney with a bases-loaded two-run single that cut the lead to 5-4.

“Grippo had a tough time finding his footing on the mound,” John Boyle said. “He has a long stride, and he couldn’t find a spot to land on the mound. Nick O’Mahoney delivered a great performance. He got us out of a big jam in the fifth inning.”

After O’Mahoney retired the next five batters, senior Joe DeMoss led off the seventh inning for Serra Catholic with a single. Sophomores Owen Dumbroski and Tyler Skaggs followed with perfect bunt singles to load the bases.

It looked like Karp might be the hero when he singled to right field to score DeMoss and tie the game, but Walker gunned out Dumbroski at home to keep the game deadlocked.

Serra sophomore Jake Holmes walked to reload the bases before Black delivered his second hit of the game for the walk-off win.

“That was a great baseball game with two very competitive teams,” John Boyle said. “It’s always tough to be up like that and let it slip away, but Serra is an excellent team. Hats off to them for the win.”

The victory keeps Serra Catholic in first place in Section 3-2A at 8-1. The Eagles have won eight straight and are 14-2 overall.

Greensburg Central Catholic falls to 6-3 in the section and 7-4 overall, but it still controls its own destiny in the section. The Centurions play Riverview on Monday and Tuesday and will host Serra Catholic on Thursday.

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