Hanford's Serkowski paces CBBN sweep

By Kevin Anthony, Tri-City Herald April 24, 2012 

KENNEWICK -- And to think, Colin Serkowski looked like he was headed for a bad day.

First, Hanford's standout senior ballplayer banged up his knee beating out a double-play ball to first base in the opening inning of Monday's doubleheader at Southridge.

Then, in the bottom of the frame, he hit the first two batters he faced on three pitches.

"Inauspicious start" doesn't come close.

But, as he has all season, Serkowski settled down, and his teammates rose up.

Trevor Jones doubled twice and drove in five runs, and Serkowski tossed a one-hitter as the Falcons blitzed the Suns 13-1 in the first game of their CBBN 3A pair.

The Falcons scored seven runs to start the second game and went on to a 12-6 win to complete the sweep of a rain-delayed makeup.

Hanford (14-2, 9-1) retained a one-game lead on Kamiakin (12-3, 8-2), which swept a pair of makeup games at Sunnyside. The Suns (9-7, 6-4), meanwhile, fell into fourth place.

"We don't have a weak spot in the lineup," said Serkowski, who struck out five, didn't walk any and drove in a pair of runs. "It makes it easier to pitch with a 10-run lead."

And he has certainly benefitted from several mercy-rule wins this season. But the Suns looked to respond to the three-spot Hanford put up in the top of the first after Serkowski hit Paul Hamada and Cole Henderson to start the game.

Hamada moved up to third on Conner O'Neil's fly to right, bringing the ever-dangerous Matt Mendenhall to the plate while Serkowski was still trying to get his pitching legs under him, so to speak.

Worse, the Falcons had Henderson picked off first, but Serkowski's throw to second went into center field, allowing Hamada to job home.

"I was using all arm, and my release point was off at first," he said. "But then I focused on my game, used my legs more, and good things happened after that."

Good things, like getting Mendenhall out on strikes and getting out of the inning without any further damage.

Good things, like setting down 13 in a row after hitting those first two batters, until losing his no-hitter with one out in the fifth and final inning when Suns catcher Jimmy Landefeld flared a ball to right that landed about a foot fair and just out of the reach of Jones, charging hard from his outfield spot.

"I was one step away from that catch," groaned Jones, who cleared the bases with a double in the second inning as the game started getting away from Southridge.

Every Falcon in the lineup had a hit, and all but one either scored a run or drove one in -- most both. Cody Kowalski scored four runs and A.J. Hoskins three.

In the second game, Tyler Steckler hit a solo home run and Hoskins a two-run double during that seven-run first inning.

"We're all good hitters," Jones said. "Everyone on the team knows he can get the job done. So if I pop out or line out, I know the next guy will get a hit."

The Suns also found some offense, with Chad Bettinson driving in three runs and Landefeld two. But Southridge coach Tim Sanders was having a tough time finding too many positives.

"Their lineup -- they're good," he said. "They can hit it, and their guys showed up."

Hanford 342 22 -- 13 14 1

Southridge 100 00 -- 1 1 2

Colin Serkowski and Jake Browne; Taylor Sanderson, Cody Schmale (2), Nathan Kasselder (4) and Jimmy Landefeld. Highlights--AJ Hoskins (H) 2x3, 3R; Ryan Neal (H) 1x3, 2 RBI; Cody Kowalski (H) 1x1, 2 BB, HBP, 4R; Serkowski (H) 5IP-1H-0ER-0BB-5K, 1x3, 2 RBI, 2R; Trevor Jones (H) 3x4, 2 2B, 5 RBI; Tyler Steckler (H) 2x4, RBI; Peter Hanson (H) 2x2; Landefeld (S) 2B.

Hanford 732 000 0 -- 12 11 0

Southridge 202 110 0 -- 6 9 2

Kyle LaFon, DeVine (4) and Steckler; O'Neil, Neville (3), Maurer (7) and Maurer, Landefeld (7). Highlights--Hoskins (H) 2x3, 2B, 3 RBI; Neal (H) 2x4, 2B; Serkowski (H) 2x4; Steckler (H) HR; Isaac Benard (H) 2x4, 2B; Paul Hamada (S) 2B; Matt Mendenhall (S) 2x2, 2B; Chad Bettinson (S) 2x4, 3 RBI; Landefeld (H) 2 RBI.

* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; kanthony@tricityherald.com

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