GC Takes on Top-Dog Tampa


Keller Pantsari, Contributing Writer

GC Baseball took on top-ranked Tampa in their first three-game series of the season on Feb. 5 and 6.

Energy and confidence were high from the players as they prepared to take on an exciting challenge. Unfortunately, the Bobcats struggled in their first game of the series as they trailed 9-0 at the bottom of the third inning.

The Bobcats stopped the bleeding in the fourth inning, scoring 3 runs of their own. Senior Sam Sly got things rolling for the Bobcats after doubling to centerfield. Sly advanced to third following another double from senior catcher Austin Holloway and scored later in the inning on an RBI-groundout to the second baseman hit by sophomore Brandon Bellflower. Holloway was then brought home after a single from Matthew Chester. The Bobcats scored their final run of the inning after a single to rightfield by freshman Dominic Arienzo, scoring Chester from second base.

Freshman pitcher Aiden McConnell took the mound to pitch for the Bobcats in the fourth inning, and it did not take him long to find his groove and step up to the challenge. McConnell entered the game as a relief pitcher. The Bobcat starter struggled through his four innings of work, giving up 9 runs.

“[He] came in and threw the ball extremely well in those middle innings, that was a positive to see,” said GC manager Nolan Belcher. McConnell struck out five batters during his outing.

The Bobcats narrowed the Spartans lead to 9-4, following a balk from the Spartans’ pitcher allowing Chester to advance to second base. The next at-bat, an RBI-single to right-field from senior Paul Grazzini scored Chester from second base.

The Bobcats were able to hold their own against the number-one Spartans for the remainder of the game. They only gave up 2 more runs in the ninth inning, making the score 11-4 and concluding the first game of the series.

“We had some quality at bats, we had double digit hits, which is always good to see especially against a quality opponent,” Belcher said. “We couldn’t take care of the baseball in that first game, but we’ll be better moving forward.”

A couple of errors early in the game led to the Spartans taking a commanding lead.

“We scrapped some hits and from the fourth inning on I felt like we played a pretty good ball game,” Holloway said. “These coaches have done a great job of getting us prepared for this season, doing the little things right and repetitions.”

Taking on the number one team in the country is always challenging. “It’s exciting having a quality team like Tampa come into town. It’s always fun playing those guys because you really find out how you stack up,” Belcher said.

The Bobcats would go on to beat the Spartans in game two of the series 5-4 and would lose on Sunday 6-4.