The Baseball Cats continue their winning ways this week as their most recent victory came against the Solon Comets on Thursday night. The Cats have now won three in a row and appear to be hitting their stride in the 2021 regular season. After trailing 2-0 early to the Comets, the Wildcats scored six straight to win their seventh game of the young campaign.
Senior Nick Zarbo was on the bump for the Cats at Brookside on Thursday night. Following a gem of a game by Jacob Rocky on Tuesday night, Zarbo looked to continue lights out pitching for Saint Ignatius. The ball game was off to a shaky start for the Blue and Gold as the Comets took advantage of a Wildcat error in the top half of the first. The error set up a Solon two-RBI double as the Comets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the first, the Cats sought a spark to get back into the ball game. The Cats would receive that spark from their senior captain Matt Giberti as he opened up the Wildcats offense with a lead-off triple to left field.
“The pitch was a breaking ball; I just stayed on it and hit down the left-field line,” explains Giberti. “As soon as I saw the ball go down the left-field line, I knew it was three.”
The speedy Giberti would find his way home with the Cats next at-bat with a passed ball to make the score 2-1 Solon. With two away in the inning, freshman Sawyer Solitaria drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Anthony Paskell would single to center field. Micah Murtha would draw another walk. With the bases loaded, the Cats were hungry to take the lead. Max Palinski would deliver in the clutch with a two-RBI bloop single.
The shaky start did not affect Zarbo as he was masterful moving forward in the contest. Zarbo would keep the Comets off the scoreboard in the second inning, allowing the Cats to pad their lead early. In the bottom half of the second, an error by the Comets right fielder would allow Gabe Nard to reach safely and bring home Billy Adams from third to take a 4-2 lead.
Zarbo would retire seven straight Comet batters as Solon could not find any answers against the senior hurler. Zarbo went four innings, allowing just one hit and two runs while striking out four in the win.
Owen Gerba would continue setting down Comet batters out of the pen for the Wildcats. The submarine southpaw pitcher was untouchable against the two Solon batters he faced in the top of the fifth. Gerba would strike out two in the inning when right-hander Luke Roggenburk would take over. Gerba and Roggenburk combined to strike out the side against the Comets.
The Wildcats sought insurance runs heading into the bottom half of the fifth, and they got just that. Solitaria would open the inning with an infield single, which allowed a courtesy runner in John Becker to come in for extra speed on the base paths. Becker would steal second despite stumbling midway between first and second. After a dropped third strikeout by Solon, Becker worked his way to third. Murtha would hit a sac fly to right field to score Becker making the score 5-2 heading into the sixth.
Zarbo, Gerba, and Roggenburk combined to sit down 12 straight Solon batters. The Comets would break back into the hit column after a Will Taylor infield single. Taylor was responsible for the only two hits of the ball game for Solon. Roggenburk would work out of minor trouble to get the Cats to the bottom sixth.
Giberti’s hot bat continued as he would single to right field to get Adams into scoring position. With runners on the corners, John Panstaressingled on a bunt to score the sixth run of the game for the Cats. Roggenburk would shut the door in the seventh inning, going 1-2-3 and securing the 6-2 victory.
Giberti would hit for ¾ of the cycle in the win Thursday night. Giberti accounted for a triple, double, and a single and was just a home run shy of the cycle. The Harvard commit came up big time for the Wildcats. “I felt comfortable in the box today,” says Giberti. “We had a lot of confidence at the plate today.”
Up-next for the Wildcats is a trip to Gilmour Academy to take on the Lancers on Saturday at noon. The SIBN will have live coverage as the Cats hope to make it four in a row.