The Saint Ignatius Wildcats came away with a narrow 4-2 comeback win over the Gilmour Academy Lancers Saturday afternoon from Figgie Field. The Cats got a massive jolt from junior designated hitter Anthony Paskell who hit a home run in the comeback effort. The Wildcats' dominant pitching continues as they run their winning streak to four in a row.
The game began similar to the Cats' previous match-up vs. the Solon Comets. The Wildcats trailed 2-0 after the first inning. Junior Micah Murtha was on the bump for the Blue and Gold on a gorgeous 60-degree day from Gates Mills, Ohio. Murtha got off to a rocky start early, allowing a lead-off walk to the Lancers. Murtha would get the next two, but next-up for the Lancers was the big four-hole hitter Charlie Shepherd. Shepherd would belt a two-run blast over the wall left to give Gilmour an early 2-0 lead.
After the homer by Shepherd, Murtha was locked in. Going 1-2-3 in the second inning and giving the Wildcat bats a chance to wake up. Murtha would go four innings allowing four hits, two runs, one walk and striking out three Lancers.
The Wildcats would threaten to score throughout the early innings but could not push a run across against Will Lazzaro, who brought his best stuff against the Wildcats. Lazzaro would finally wear down in the top of the fifth inning. Billy Adams would lead the inning off with a double into the alleyway in left-center field. Lazzaro would punch out back-to-back Wildcat batters as he was one out away from tight roping another inning. Paskell came to the plate with a chance to tie the game up with a runner in scoring position.
With a 2-0 count, Paskell smacked the ball high and deep to left field. The ball continued to carry and finally cleared the left-field wall in left. Paskell's teammates began pouring out of the dugout to mob the designated hitter as it gave the Cats new life in the ball game.
"In my previous at-bats, I was looking for something to hit," explains Paskell. "I finally found my pitch in the zone and I turned it on."
With a new ball game at Figgie Field, Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor brought Sawyer Solitaria out of the pen in the freshman phenom. Solitaria would rack up three ground balls that were all picked up by junior Gabe Nard, as it was your traditional 4-3 groundouts.
Nard would begin the top of the sixth with a blast of his own as he would go opposite field with a triple to lead off the sixth. Vince Fabe was brought in as a courtesy runner, as Noah Brazytis would hit an RBI single to left field to give the Cats their first lead of the day.
In the bottom half of the sixth, Solitaria would pitch another 1-2-3 inning to keep the advantage 3-2 Wildcats heading into the seventh. Paskell would add insurance for the Cats. After drawing a walk, he would slide home due to a throwing error by the Lancer catcher.
With the Wildcats leading 4-2, coach Ganor kept his trust in Solitaria. Gilmour would bring the tying run to the plate, but Solitaria was locked in to close the door on the Lancers. With a 1-2 count, the Lancers grounded out to shortstop Billy Adams to finish the game at a 4-2 score.
Solitaria completed three-inning, not allowing a hit, striking out two and allowing just one base runner. Paskell was responsible for three Wildcat runs in the win.
The Wildcats are back home at Brookside on Monday to take on the Avon Eagles. Monday marks a long stretch for the Cats as they'll play Avon on Monday, Mason on Tuesday, Mentor on Friday and Strongsville on Saturday on the road. The Wildcats are 7-4 as they hit this stretch of games. All contests this week will be live-streamed on the SIBN.