The Wildcats retook the baseball diamond for the first time since the 2019 Division I State Championship Game. Gabe Nard toed the rubber in the season opener Saturday afternoon vs. the Massillon Jackson Polar Bears. It only fits that Nard was the opening pitcher as he was the starting pitcher as a freshman in the state championship game. The now junior pitched a gem in four innings of work in the 9-3 victory.
Saint Ignatius did not take long to make Brookside Reservation their home as they settled in quite quickly vs. the Polar Bears. In the bottom of the first, Luke Roggenburk rocketed the ball into left field as he scored Billy Adams from second to open the 2021 season. Noah Brazytis scored Nard on a sac fly to right field to give the Cats a 2-0 early lead.
The Polar Bears broke onto the scoreboard in the top third, getting a run across. The Wildcats would answer with three runs in the bottom half. Adams opened the scoring in the inning after an errant throw by the Polar Bear pitcher went into center field to attempt to pick off the Wildcat runner at 2nd. Tony Rice stepped to the plate with bases loaded and two out, he hit a chopper to third, and the Polar Bear first baseman dropped the throw. Brzytis scored from third, and with a heads-up play by Gip Conroy, the Wildcats scored two on the Jackson error to make the score 5-1 heading to the fourth.
Roggenburk would continue his fine afternoon with an RBI single to bring home Matt Giberti to make the score 6-1 going to the fifth. Jackson would get two runs back in the fifth inning, cutting the Wildcats lead to 6-3.
The Wildcats would put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning as they would tack on three more runs on the Polar Bears. A Nard RBI triple highlighted the sixth inning as he drove one into the alley at Brookside. Relief pitcher Aidan Cooney would finish the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to secure a 9-3 win vs. Jackson.
“There is nothing better than Ignatius baseball,” says Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor. “There is no better feeling than playing for your school and your brothers.”
Roggenburk was the SIBN Player of the Game as the senior went 3-4 with three RBIs in the win. “I felt good,” says Roggenburk. “I just hit the ball hard today and need to keep that up.”
Saint Ignatius and Wooster, the Thursday match has been postponed due to the frigid weather inbound to Northeast Ohio. The next contest for the Wildcats will be on Saturday, April 3, as they will take on University School from Brookside Reservation at 1 p.m. The SIBN will have doubleheader action beginning with the JV game at 11 a.m. Saint Ignatius baseball is back and is 1-0 to start the season.