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Serra Catholic freshman hurls 1-hitter in victory

| Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 12:42 a.m.

“The ol' Wichita pickoff play” is real, even though it could easily be mistaken for a scene out of a poorly thought out and clichéd baseball movie.

Still, that didn't prevent Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda to give the unusual trick play (a fake pickoff attempt at second base where the middle infielders dive to the ground and pretend the ball was thrown into the outfield by the pitcher) a try during the fifth inning of Monday's Section 2-A game against Bishop Canevin at Boston Field.

Apparently, that's what Serra has to resort to for in-game entertainment when Cole McCombs is on the mound.

The freshman phenom continued his remarkable start to his high school career following up his first career no-hitter with a one-hit, 10-strikeout masterpiece over Bishop Canevin (3-2, 1-1) to help Serra (6-3, 3-1) take over sole possession of first place with a 5-1 win. It was Serra's fifth straight win after a 1-3 start.

“To be honest, I don't think he had his best stuff, but he got it done,” Dzurenda said.

“He changed speeds well, but he definitely hasn't been as sharp as he has been. Still, he was fantastic.”

McCombs allowed only a two-out, off-the-end-of-the-bat fifth-inning flare to Zach Cortese. It was only the fourth hit that McCombs has allowed on 24 13 innings pitched this year.

The freshman has yet to allow an earned run while striking out 42.

“He is a lot better than I expected him to be at this point,” Dzurenda said. “He remains calm and changes speeds. (Catcher) Parker Janosko is a calming influence to him. I give Parker a lot of credit for helping him behind the plate.”

Serra's offense provided enough four batters into the game to allow McCombs to win his third straight game.

Janosko led the game off with a single and then scored on a fielding error to make it 1-0. Brandon Coddington, who went 2 for 3, with two RBIs, grounded out to shortstop to score Zac Quattrone and Serra led 2-0.

“Everybody can breathe when we put a couple across early,” Dzurenda said.

“They were supposed to be the team to beat in the section, and we respect them, but I think we shocked them a little bit.”

Cameron Kohan was charged with the loss for Bishop Canevin. He allowed four runs and seven hits in three innings before giving way to Justin Dix, who pitched three perfect innings.

“I think they thought they were going to come in here and kick our butt,” Dzurenda said.

Serra added to its lead in the second on Marty Slovonic's two-out run-scoring single to make it 3-0 before back-to-back RBIs by Quattrone and Coddington made it 5-0.

Bishop Canevin got its run in the fourth with a lot of help from Serra.

Cortese reached on a two-out single then moved to second when Janosko tried to pick him off at first. Cortese scored when McCombs' pickoff attempt sailed into center field and through the legs of Slovonic to make it 5-1.

McCombs took over after that by striking out five of the last 12 batters of the game.

“It's a good win for us and it puts in the position we want over the final few weeks of the season,” Dzurenda said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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