NEW CASTLE —
SETTING THE TONE
With the Warriors coming off a 25-hit, 21-run performance less than 24 hours before, it was up to the Lancers’ right-hander to set the tone early.
“I had a six-pitch inning in the first,” Serignese said. “They had 25 hits the night before and I got them on six pitches. We came up and got four runs. That took the gas out of them.
“I knew from there it was going to be a good day. That first inning set the tone for the whole game. We had all the momentum in the world.”
Mohawk’s offensive output served as a wake-up call to the young pitcher.
“Coach Kirkwood called me the night before and said ‘They’re a good team,’ ” Serignese said of Mohawk. “Hearing they scored 21 runs and had 25 hits, I put a little more preparation into it, knowing this team was for real. I read more scouting reports and did a lot more thinking before the game.”
Serignese’s 64 pitches against Mohawk are symbolic of a Kirkwood philosophy.
“That exemplifies what we try to do,” the Neshannock coach said. “When we’re working out and getting ready for the season, we say 15 pitches equals one inning. We tell them when they’re facing somebody that within three pitches you have to make something happen. If you’re working quick and you’re working fast, the defense is ready.”
The Lancers’ defense already has gained Serignese’s trust.
“There’s days where you want to be a strikeout pitcher or days when you want to rely on your defense,” Serignese said. “Against Mohawk, I was looking to pitch to contact and rely on my defense.
“We have one of the best defenses around. Anytime when I’m on the mound, I know I can rely on my teammates to make good plays. It gives you confidence to pitch knowing guys like Ernie Burkes and Marcus Giangiuli are right behind you in the middle of the defense. Marcus is probably the best center fielder around.”