A cold, gray day in Wickliffe ushered in the 2018-19 season for the Saint Ignatius bowling program.
Despite the weather, the Wildcats rang in the new season with plenty of cheer on Saturday, earning wins over Westlake and St. Edward.
The Saint Ignatius varsity squad earned a sweep of the Demons – a 7-0 scratch win, a 5-2 handicap victory, a 2-0 baker win, and the OHSAA point. The JV Cats defeated the Eagles in nearly every category, winning the scratch battle, 5-2, and the OHSAA point, despite a 2-1 baker loss.
With several new members on the varsity squad this season, Head Coach Jim Viets decided to mix up the lineup on Saturday. Alex Gehrlein (119), Noah Virant (154), Ryan Wallenhorst (119), Dylan Huss (198), and Vinny Doran (152) started the day with a 742-696 win in game one vs. Westlake. In game two, young guns Alex Madeja and Ben Gehrlein entered. The junior and sophomore tallied a 130 and 142, respectively, helping the Wildcats earn a narrow 743-734 win in the third game.
Alex Gehrlein and Wallenhorst checked back in for the third game, rolling a 149 and a 136, respectively. Doran notched his best game of the day with a 193 and Madeja broke out for an exceptional 204, the best game of any Alley Cat on Saturday. Thanks to these two exceptional efforts, the Wildcats rolled past Westlake easily in the third game, 810-721.
The Wildcats kept the momentum going into the baker games. The Alley Cats combined for wins of 171-126 and 155-123, easily earning the overall baker victory, 326-149.
After the calculations were complete, the Wildcats also walked away with the handicap win, 5-2, and the OHSAA point, knocking down 2,621 pins to Westlake's 2,400.
Meanwhile, the young JV Cats did battle with the Eagles. Sean Ward (165), Alex Vacca (142), Mason Cook (103), Colin Schram (87), and Gabe Virant (118) made solid debuts to pick up a dominant 615-415 victory in the first game.
In the second game, Andrew Metz and Ronan Scott checked in for the blue and gold, notching solid scores. The Wildcats could not duplicate the success of the first frame, falling to the Eagles, 499-490. But in the third game, Gabe Virant led the way with a 157 to help the team claim a narrow 512-510 victory over the Eagles.
The baker games proved to be just as competitive. The Wildcats combined to earn the first win, 96-78, but stumbled to a 113-87 defeat in the second contest. The Eagles won the baker games, 191-183.
But at the end of the day, the Wildcats owned a 1,810-1,615 pinfall advantage over the Eagles, taking home the overall victory.
With the successful debut for both teams in the rearview mirror, the Alley Cats now look forward to Week 2 of GCIBL play. The varsity team will square off with the Eagles next Saturday, while the JV Cats will do battle with Westlake. Both matches will take place at Rollhouse Parma.