The first weekend of December proved to be busy but productive for the Saint Ignatius bowling program.
The Wildcats played Greater Cleveland Interscholastic Bowling League (GCIBL) matches on Saturday and hosted the 2nd Annual Wildcat Tournament on Sunday.
By all measures, the weekend was a success for the Wildcats. The men of Ohio City earned varsity and JV wins on Saturday and performed well at their namesake tournament on Sunday, reaching the playoffs.
On Saturday, the varsity squad faced off with the Lakewood Rangers at Buckeye Lanes in Parma. The Wildcats rolled from the get-go. The Alley Cats started the day by winning the first game, 789-530. Dylan Huss roared to a 212 and Vinny Doran tallied a 180 to lead the way. Ben Gehrlein also chipped in a nice 166.
The Wildcats did even better in the second game, rolling to an 827-547 victory. Alex Gehrlein fired off a 203 in a great performance. Vinny Doran tabbed a 173, while Ryan Wallenhorst followed it up with a 165.
The third game saw the Wildcats record their lowest score of the three games, but the squad still cruised to a 696-570 victory. Doran notched a 189 to finish with a 542 series to lead the team. Noah Virant poured in a 143 to help secure the victory for the Wildcats.
The bakers went swimmingly, too. The Wildcats captured a 158-122 victory in the first baker, and combined for a 169-117 triumph in the second baker.
To top it off, the Wildcats won five of seven handicap points. At the end of the match, the Alley Cats enjoyed a wide advantage in total pinfall, 2,639-1,886 to easily earn the OHSAA point.
Meanwhile, the JV team faced off with Westlake's #2 JV squad. The JV Cats also enjoyed a dominant performance, from the start.
The Wildcats catapulted to a 604-505 victory in the first game. Mason Cook enjoyed a breakout effort with a 156 to lead the way. Andrew Fornadel slotted into second, earning a 135. Collin Schram (105), Gabe Virant (105), and Andrew Metz (103) also experienced solid games.
The Demons upstaged the Wildcats in the second game, 601-499. Cook poured in a 146 and Fornadel garnered a 114, but Westlake's effort proved too much. Ronan Scott (101), Sean Ward (74), and Alex Vacca (64) worked hard in the second game.
The Alley Cats refused to lose the third game. The squad pulled together for a 613-470. Cook guided the way with a 180 to finish with a memorable 482 series. Fornadel rounded out his day with a 137 for a 386 series.
The first baker game was a squeaker. The Wildcats eked out the Demons, 100-95, in a close matchup. Following the breathtaking win, the Alley Cats won by a wider margin in the second baker game, 124-76.
At the end of the day, the Wildcats won 5-of-7 scratch points, 5-of-7 handicap points, and the OHSAA point, by virtue of a nice margin in overall pinfall – 1,940-1,797. Just like the varsity team, the JV squad advanced to 2-1 on the year with the win.
On Sunday, the varsity team hosted the 2nd Annual Wildcat Tournament. Assistant Coach D.j. Assaff and Head Coach Jim Viets ran the show effectively and efficiently, drawing plenty of positive reviews from fans and parents.
The Wildcats performed just as a host should – excellently. The team started a little slow, with a 734 team score in the first game. However, the Alley Cats stormed to an 853 in the second game, improving scores across the board. Vinny Doran surpassed 200 with a wonderful 201 to lead the way. Noah Virant counted a 169 to continue a strong junior campaign. Alex Madeja, or Alex 2.0 as he's affectionately called, summed a 163. Alex Gehrlein and Dylan matched each other, with scores of 160.
The Alley Cats posted an identical score of 853 in the third game. Doran guided the way again with a 214 to finish with a 572 series. Huss completed a 521 series with a total of 194 in the third contest. Virant notched a 157 for a 466 series in a great finish.
Following the three games, each squad rolled 5 baker games. The Wildcats kept the momentum going into the bakers, tallying scores of 138, 141, 179, 202, and 172.
The Wildcats' scores in the games and bakers clinched a spot in the playoffs. The top 8 teams qualified for a best-of-3 baker first round, with the winning teams advancing to the final four and the then the title.
The Wildcats locked up the No. 5 seed and a showdown with Austintown Fitch. The contest proved to be a thriller.
The Alley Cats stormed out of the gates. With great performances by Wallenhorst, the Gehrlein brothers, Doran, Huss, and Madeja, the Wildcats fired off a 202-172 victory in the first baker.
Fitch responded with a better effort in the second baker. The Wildcats struggled to duplicate the excellent effort, and fell narrowly, 190-175, to Fitch. The loss set up a third and deciding baker.
The Wildcats and Falcons battled neck-and-neck to the end. The war was decided by the final three frames. The Falcons managed several strikes, while the Wildcats left several spares on the table. Fitch emerged with a 202-175 victory to advance to the next round.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats enjoyed breakout performances by several keglers and built confidence early on in the season. That's important for a young team.
Following a week of practice, the Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, facing Olmsted Falls at Rollhouse Wickliffe. The Alley Cats will then participate in the Nordonia Tournament next Sunday.