His friends talked Lockport transfer Kasten Goebbert into playing for Providence. The payoff? ‘He’s a competitor.’

Junior right-hander Kasten Goebbert didn’t play high school baseball his first two years, but after transferring from Lockport to Providence before this school year, he was talked into giving it a try.

Goebbert is sure enjoying the experience now.

“I was just playing travel ball my first two years of high school,” Goebbert said. “My teammates now were like, ‘You should come play for Providence.’ It’s been going well. It was a good choice.

“I knew a bunch of these guys from my travel team, so I felt at home.”

Goebbert, who has been excelling in the Celtics’ starting rotation, continued his success Saturday.

He struck out three and gave up just three walks, two hits and one run over six innings to lead visiting Providence to a 5-1 Catholic League Blue win over Brother Rice in Chicago.

Sammy Atkinson homered and drove in a pair of runs for the Celtics (17-5, 7-2), while Mitch Voltz went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Cooper Eggert reached base three times.

Illinois State recruit Jackson Natanek tripled and scored for Brother Rice (12-12, 6-3), while Lewis commit Chris Daugherty singled and walked twice. Derrick Holmes threw three innings of scoreless relief, striking out six.

After allowing Natanek’s triple in the first inning, Goebbert didn’t relinquish another hit until Daugherty singled in the sixth.

Goebbert improved to 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA and has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Enzo Infelise, a junior catcher and Oklahoma recruit, has been impressed.

“He transferred over from Lockport, and I knew he was going to play a big role,” Infelise said of Goebbert. “He’s been pitching Saturday games, pitching big (Catholic League) Blue games, and he always shows up for every game.

“He’s really determined to get strikeouts. He lets the ball get put into play when it needs to. He just throws strikes. He really competes out there and works all game.”

Goebbert said high school games have a different feel from travel ball.

“It’s fun with how close our team is and how we always come to games ready to play,” he said. “It’s really been a great experience.”

Goebbert played basketball at Lockport but gave it up after his sophomore year to focus on baseball.

By making that decision, he’s breaking a family convention. Goebbert’s uncle is Bradley men’s basketball coach Brian Wardle.

“Plus, my mom played basketball in college and I have cousins playing basketball in college,” Goebbert said. “It’s a big basketball family, but I’ve always loved baseball and I love pitching.”

Baseball isn’t entirely a new thing for the Goebbert family, though. Kasten’s dad, Brad, played the sport at Illinois-Chicago.

Those are the footsteps Kasten is hoping to follow in.

“I knew I wasn’t going to play basketball in college, but with baseball, I figured if I focus and work hard, I’ve got a shot,” he said. “Hopefully I can get there.”

Providence came into Saturday’s game reeling a bit after back-to-back losses to St. Laurence.

Atkinson’s homer in the second inning got the Celtics going in the right direction.

“I had two strikes on me so I was just trying to put the ball in play and get the team rolling,” Atkinson said. “I wasn’t really trying to do too much but it just kind of happened.

“We didn’t lose two in a row all last year, so we were trying to bust out of that and I’m super glad that we did.”

The Celtics added four runs in the third and Goebbert took it from there.

Providence coach Mark Smith is liking what he’s seeing from his new pitcher.

“He’s a competitor,” Smith said. “He’s very relaxed. He’s got the demeanor that I like where he’s low key. He just does what he has to do. He stays focused. He doesn’t get rattled. He just pitches.

“All year long, he’s done a great job for us. He’s pitched well. We’re happy to have him.”