Peter Pigatti bounces back for final Hinsdale Central baseball season

4 minute read

Gregg Voss
Pioneer Press


Peter Pigatti's work ethic has served him well across three sports at Hinsdale Central. It also helped him bounce back quickly from the most painful injury he's ever sustained.

In December, Pigatti broke his left fibula wrestling in a 182-pound, quadruple overtime match at the annual Rex Whitlatch Invitational. He said it was a clean break and didn't damage any muscles, but it ended his high school wrestling career and could have delayed the start to his baseball season.

That simply wasn't an option for Pigatti, a senior catcher from Hinsdale who was a defensive end for the Red Devils' football team last fall. By Feb. 27, a day after his walking boot was removed, he was ready for baseball tryouts.

"If this had to happen, it happened at the right time," Pigatti said, "because I still had time to get ready for baseball. I had to work my butt off to get into shape."

He was batting .333, with seven doubles and six RBIs on the season through last week's three-game series against Lyons. He also has thrown out eight would-be base stealers. In a 2-1 loss to Lyons on April 27, Pigatti drove in Hinsdale Central's only run of the game with an RBI double in the first inning, and behind the plate, he guided sophomore starting pitcher Michael Gurka in his first varsity start.

Hinsdale Central coach Jason Ziemer is pleased with Pigatti's efforts so far this season, in which the Red Devils were 10-5 and 5-2 in the West Suburban Silver through April 27, but he wasn't sure Pigatti would return at all after his wrestling injury.

"When it happened, I didn't think he'd be back," Ziemer said. "I thought best-case scenario he would be back around now. His rehab progressed quickly, and the doctors and trainers gave him the go-ahead. Everything checked out, and he really worked hard. If there was a kid who could come back that quickly, it would be him."

The first two weeks after the injury, Pigatti said he was in a soft cast that couldn't get wet. That virtually prevented him from working out, save body weights. Then came a hard cast and crutches, which limited his winter workouts with the baseball team and forced him to hop around Hinsdale Central's weight room while he worked on his upper body.

"I knew I needed to get in shape for baseball, and there are things I needed to do, and it was driving me nuts not doing it," Pigatti said.

But he made it to baseball tryouts in late February — perhaps much to Ziemer's surprise — though he admitted he was a bit tentative those first few days, not to mention sore. Recently, he has been wearing a plus-sized ankle bracelet during each game to protect his leg.

Pigatti, who will play football next fall at Washington University in St. Louis, has been able to improve his batting average from a year ago and still plays a major role behind the plate for the Red Devils.

"Peter is one of the biggest leaders on this team," Gurka said. "To have someone like that I can count on behind the plate makes my job a whole lot easier."

Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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