Serra Catholic beats Monessen to clinch section title
Brian Dzurenda has had his share of good baseball teams at Serra Catholic over his 14 years as coach, but none more satisfying than the current one.
Not the one that won the WPIAL Class A title in 2009.
Not the one that won the WPIAL Class A title in 2010.
Not the one that won the PIAA Class A title in 2011.
And not any of his four previous section title-winning teams.
Serra's 10-0, six-inning win over Monessen at rainy Boston Field clinched at least a share of the Section 2-A championship for the Eagles.
It's a section title that Dzurenda cherishes the most because it was the one that was the most unexpected.
“Nobody gave us a chance at the beginning of the year,” Dzurenda said. “Nobody believed we could do it other than the kids on the field and the coaches. This is the most gratifying section championship I ever had. This is as blue collar of a team that I ever coached. They work so tremendously hard, and they deserve this.”
The face of that lunchpail mentality was on full display Monday with senior pitcher Wayne Hydak.
Hydak allowed one hit through five innings to raise his record to 5-0 and helped himself at the plate with a double, two singles and two RBI.
“When he was a freshman, I saw flashes from him,” Dzurenda said. “But he was so inconsistent. His consistency has improved so much over the years. He works so hard and never complains.”
Parker Janosko added a double, single and two RBI, while Dylan Kugler chipped in with a double.
Monessen (3-4, 4-9) managed only a second-inning single by Tyler Shash, but the Greyhounds remained in the game mostly because of the pitching of Peter Tarka. Tarka allowed only three hits and two runs over five innings before the bottom fell out.
In a 2-0 game and with rain moving in, Tarka gave up a leadoff double to Kugler, followed by a single by Hydak in the sixth. After a strikeout, Tarka walked four straight Serra hitters to push across three runs and force Monessen coach Bill Matush to make a pitching change.
“Pete was getting tired,” Matush said. “It wasn't raining that hard when the inning started. I understand we have to play. It had nothing to do with the weather.”
Reliever Justice Rawlins didn't do much better as he walked three, hit another and gave up a game-ending bases-loaded single to Janosko.
“We played them two games, and we haven't given up a run,” Dzurenda said. “The pitching has been great for us. We have 90 strikeouts and only nine walks this year. That's amazing.”
Serra will close out the season with two meaningless section games against Clairton and Bishop Canevin.
“This section championship was a nice accomplishment, and we did it the old- fashioned way — we worked hard and we earned it,” Dzurenda said.