The Wildcats have completed the regular season with a 4-1 win over the Canton Central Catholic Crusaders on Senior Day. The Class of 2021 Baseball Cats and their parents enjoyed a memorable day at Brookside Reservation. The players and parents were recognized before the first pitch between the Wildcats and Crusaders. Fourteen players were recognized, along with two managers and three SIBN broadcasters.
Nick Zarbo got the starting nod on Senior Day as he would pitch a scoreless first inning as the Crusaders stranded a runner in scoring position. Great pitching and taking the lead early has been the name of the game for the Wildcats this season, and Senior Day was no different as the Cats would strike first in the bottom frame. Luke Roggenburk drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to left field that scored Matt Giberti from third base.
The Crusaders started the second inning with a lead-off single; however, Zarbo worked out of trouble, as Canton Central Catholic would strand the runner at third, leaving the score 1-0 for the Wildcats. After a quiet bottom half of the second, Zarbo would pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the third. Zarbo would go three innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two.
In the bottom of the third, the Wildcats tacked on insurance runs as after a lead-off triple by John Panstares, Gabe Nard blasted an RBI double to left field, making the score 2-0 for the good guys. With a Roggenburk single, there were runners on the corners with nobody out; a balk by the Crusader pitcher brought home Nard as the Cats climbed to a 3-0 advantage after three innings of play.
Senior Mcrey Socha was brought in as the first senior reliever out of the pen in the fourth inning. The lefty saw early trouble in the inning as the Crusaders would load the bases with no outs. Socha got the first out with a close play at the plate as Roggenburk took the force play by throwing home. The Crusaders got on their first and only run on the board with an RBI single to right field, making the score 3-1. Socha would work out of trouble by getting the Crusaders to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
After a quiet fourth inning from the Wildcat bats, Senior Sam Olack would come into pitch for the top half of the fifth. Olack worked out of trouble as the Crusaders would strand a pair leaving the score 3-1 in the Wildcats’ favor.
Giberti opened the bottom half of the fifth with a lead-off double. After a passed ball by the Crusaders, Giberti took third with ease. Nard grounded a weak dribbler to the pitcher, and he decided to go home to try and prevent Giberti from scoring. Giberti slid home and avoided the tag making the score 4-1 Wildcats in the fifth.
In the top half of the sixth, senior Owen Gerba was brought out to pitch. The submarine-style left-hander worked a scoreless frame, allowing just one base runner on a walk. Senior Aidan Cooney was brought in for the seventh inning to close the door on the Crusaders and earn a save. Cooney pitched a 1-2-3 seventh as the Wildcats concluded regular season play with a 4-1 win on Senior Day. Sam Olack earned the victory and Cooney was credited the save.
The Wildcat seniors reflected on a memorable Senior Day from Brookside Reservation. “Growing up with these guys, playing with them since freshman year, it’ll be something I’ll remember forever,” says Gerba. “We have come so far, especially after losing our junior year to the pandemic.”
“It means a lot to me,” Olack says. “I don’t get a lot of innings in, so when I do get out there, it means a lot.”
“I feel for the Class of 2020 who did not get to have this,” explains Socha. “To be out here and play with my brothers means a lot. Now we have six more games to go to become State Champions.”
The Baseball Cats have one thing in mind and that is to become State Champions. The journey will continue on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the District Semifinal against Wadsworth at Brookside Reservation. The winner of that contest will take on the winner of Medina Highland/Berea-Midpark for the District Championship on Thursday at 5 p.m.
JV and Freshman Baseball Update:
The JV and Freshman squad for Saint Ignatius wrapped up their 2021 regular season over the weekend as the Freshman team bested the St. Edward Eagles 11-0 as they finish the season with a 20-4 record and finish on a 10-game winning streak.
The JV Cats defeated Mayfield 7-1 on Saturday to wrap up their regular season with an impressive 27-1. Their lone loss came from the Brunswick Blue Devils on May 15. The future talent of Wildcat baseball looks bright as between the JV and Freshman team; the Cats won 47 games.