Undefeated Serra Catholic takes care of Jeannette

Monday, April 22, 2024 | 11:14 PM

Serra Catholic used a complete performance to earn a dominant 11-1 win over Jeannette in five innings Monday.

Tyler Skaggs threw a gem for the Eagles (10-0, 7-0) as they grabbed another Section 3-2A victory over the Jayhawks (6-3, 4-2). Skaggs earned the win after allowing two hits in four innings, striking out eight.

Offensively, Collin Holmes led the way with three hits and two RBIs. Jake Holmes crushed a two-run home run, and Owen Dumbroski and Carmen Chiaverini each slugged two hits and helped to plate runs.

“It all starts on the mound, and Tyler Skaggs did a really good job today changing speeds and keeping them guessing,” Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. “This is exactly what we were after. We talked about Jeannette being a contender in the section, and they’re off to a really good start, so we wanted this win and we got it.”

Jeannette had a difficult day at the plate, managing just three hits in five innings as Amari Thomas, Noah Rattigan and Nick Rattigan put the ball in play. Noah Rattigan’s single in the fifth inning scored the lone run for the Jayhawks.

“Serra is one of the better teams in Double-A, so when you come here, you’re going to face some strong pitching and defense and we did today,” Jeannette coach Marcus Clarkson said. “For one, I don’t think we had good at-bats. They have good pitchers, but I don’t think we had good at-bats. We have to put pressure on them, and you can’t do that when there’s nobody on base.”

Jeannette came close to opening the scoring in the first, but Skaggs got out of the inning by stranding runners on first and third.

After two quick outs, Michael Mason reached on an error. Nick Rattigan then singled to put runners on first and second before Mason got to third on a pickoff attempt that was wide of Max Black at first. Skaggs managed to force Brayden Luttner into a groundout to end the top of the frame.

From there, the Eagles got to work offensively with two runs. With Jayden Kennedy pitching, Isiah Petty drew the first of his three walks and Dumbroski singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. However, the Jayhawks forced two quick outs as Zach Black popped out to third and Petty was tagged out trying to score on a wild pitch that took a big hop off the backstop right to catcher Kenneth Himes.

Dumbroski swiped second and third before Jake Holmes was walked, so Serra Catholic had runners on first and third again when Collin Holmes crushed a two-run triple to make it 2-0.

“I thought we might have squandered an opportunity in the first inning,” Dzurenda said. “I like the aggressiveness that Isiah had trying to take home, and on any normal backstop, he would’ve scored, but we have this little cage backstop so it was unlucky.”

The Eagles are temporarily playing at Port Vue Athletic Association while the Boston Ballfield undergoes renovations.

Skaggs struck out the side in 11 pitches in the top of the second and the Eagles plated four more runs in the bottom half. Dumbroski scored Bodi Rieger with a single, Zach Black plated Dumbroski with a double, and Jake Holmes cleared the bases with his two-run shot.

After a scoreless third inning, Serra Catholic managed four more runs in the fourth as Collin Holmes and Mark Johnson crossed home as a courtesy runner for Jake Holmes to make it 8-0. Later in the frame, Matt McNeil was able to steal home and D.J. Deliman crossed home plate on an error.

With the score at 10-0 entering the top of the fifth, the Jayhawks scored a run against Johnson, who relieved Skaggs to begin the inning.

Johnson walked Himes before striking out two batters when Jeannette came up with some offense. Thomas drew a walk to put runners on first and second when Noah Rattigan scored Himes’ courtesy runner, Dominico Ponzetti, with a single to open Jeannette’s account and make it 10-1.

Serra Catholic’s Xavier Miller scored the final run of the game after courtesy running for Jake Holmes, making the final 11-1.

The win marked was the 10th straight for the Eagles to open their season, and they’ll hope to continue that trend in an away matchup with the Jayhawks on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to stack wins right now for the most part,” Dzurenda said. “We’re not where we want to be right now offensively, but defensively, we’re doing very well.”

As for the Jayhawks, they’ll be hoping to compete against the Eagles with home-field advantage.

“I told them to keep their heads up high,” Clarkson said. “We have a few section games left, and the playoffs are still in our grasp. We’ve had a couple of down seasons, and we have 11 sophomores now, so they’re not even sure what the playoffs are like. That’s the bigger prize, so we’ll look to keep winning moving forward.”

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