Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Serra: Don't Count Us Out

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Serra: Don't Count Us Out

Article excerpt

This season is going to be a little different for the Serra Catholic High School baseball team.

Unlike the past few years, the Eagles won't be able to rely on ace pitcher Alain Girman.

A star left-hander, Girman finished his high school career tied for the most wins in WPIAL history with a 31-2 career record. He has graduated and now is pitching at Mount St. Mary's University, a Division I program in Emmitsburg, Md.

"The guys are sort of playing with a chip on their shoulders," Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. "A lot of people have already written this team off, thinking Girman was all we had.

"But I think this team knows better than that and believes it can compete this season."

Despite the uncooperative weather, the Eagles (3-0) have been able to squeeze in three non-section games, picking up a 10-2 win against Saltsburg before knocking off California, 4-1, then routing East Allegheny, 15-0, on Tuesday. The victory against California was noteworthy. The Trojans entered the season as the Post-Gazette's No. 3-ranked team in Class A.

"We're off to a good start," said Dzurenda, who enters his 14th season as head coach at his alma mater. "I am pleasantly surprised at how well we've played with the new group of kids. We still have five kids left from our state championship team two years ago, so they know how to win. Their preparation during the offseason was tremendous."

A perennial small-school baseball power under Dzurenda, Serra Catholic made three consecutive trips to the Class A state title game before last season. After winning a PIAA crown in 2011, the Eagles finished their 2012 campaign 13-6 after losing to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

"What excites me the most about this team is how hard these kids have worked," Dzurenda said. "We have great team unity. We have a renewed effort here to get back to the glory years we've had.

"It all starts with playing for a section title and maybe a WPIAL championship. We have good hitting, our pitching is coming along and our infield is second to none. We have quality infielders and we're still going to tinker with our outfielders before we get into section play. …

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