Swinging a hot bat
Serrano continues torrid streak with three hits for Central
Kyle Serrano wanted to bring back more than one win from Central High School’s three games in Arizona last week, but he left the land of cacti with something else the Warriors are thrilled to see: his groove.
The senior catcher got into it in Phoenix, going 6 for 9 with two doubles, two triples and a home run, and he remained in it Wednesday, banging two doubles among his three hits.
And it could have been three doubles, but his line shot off Suplizio Field’s left-field wall with a runner on third base scored the game-ending run as Central beat winless Mead 10-0 in a nonleague game halted by the run rule in the bottom of the fifth. What would have been a stand-up double under any other circumstance went down as a long, powerful single.
“That kind of bums me out,” Serrano said of the single, “but anything for a win, I guess, right?”
Serrano led the Warriors’ 16-hit attack by going 3 for 4 and driving in three runs. He doubled over the center fielder’s head in the first inning to drive in Central’s first run, the only one Warrior pitchers Francisco Rubio and Seth Krebill needed as they combined on a three-hit shutout. It was Central’s fourth shutout win of the season as it improved to 6-4.
In the second inning, Serrano slammed a double to the gap in left-center, plating another run for a 6-0 lead.
“He’s seeing the ball, and he’s putting good swings on them,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “He’s really finding the gaps and squaring balls up, and he’s just really locked in right now.”
That wasn’t the case earlier in the season. Serrano was getting hits, but not the line shots he’s now banging off the outfield walls. Wednesday’s performance raised his batting average to .567, and 11 of his 17 hits have been for extra bases.
“Everything is coming more naturally,” said Serrano, who will play baseball for Colorado Mesa University next year. “I think mainly when I was not seeing the ball well, I was thinking about everything, pressing a lot. I had a lot of pressure on myself, being a senior trying to lead the whole team.
“I think more guys come up and step up and get big hits, and it takes the pressure off me a little bit, so I can just get up there and just play my game and just do what I know how to do and just let the hands fly.”
No. 9 hitter Brandon Martinez joined Serrano with three hits, and the bottom of the Warriors’ order delivered all game. Martinez, No. 7 hitter Frank DiThomas and No. 8 hitter Cole Rupe went a combined 7 for 9 with four RBI and six runs scored.
“These guys certainly made us pay for pitches that were up in the strike zone,” Mead coach Jared Parrish said. “They hit some poor pitches. They also hit some quality pitches that we made. ... They got up there and flat-out swung it.”
The Warriors also got the job done when they fell behind in the count, and Yost said he was impressed by his hitters’ production when they had two strikes.
“We really preached that after the Arizona trip,” Yost said. “We didn’t battle as well (in Arizona) with two strikes, and today I think we had five or six hits with two strikes. That was, I think, big for us today.”
Meanwhile, Rubio and Krebill threw strikes as neither issued a walk.
“We told them it’s important to come out and get first-pitch strikes and just keep the ball in the zone and let our defense play, and that’s exactly what they did,” Yost said.