On the third pitch of his at-bat Thursday, leadoff hitter and senior center fielder Drew Bartholow doubled to the left-center gap.
It was a sign of things to come for the Ramblers in their 12-1, five-inning win over Taft in the Class 4A regional semifinals at Fenwick’s Priory Field in River Forest.
“I think that set the tone for the whole team,” Bartholow said.
Bartholow (pictured above) scored Loyola’s first run, and the Ramblers (22-12) added two more in the first to take control of the game. He finished with two hits, three runs scored and one RBI.
“Getting up early is big in a game like this,” he said. “Everybody is able to relax a little more. You don’t want to be too uptight. We had fun out there.”
Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said he likes Bartholow’s offensive approach. Bartholomew’s batting .349 with an on-base percentage of .474 and an OPS of .936. His 21 stolen bases are first on the team, and he’s second with 37 runs scored. He also has three home runs and 19 RBIs.
“He gives us quality at-bats,” Bridich said. “If he’s on base, good things tend to happen.”
Loyola, the No. 3 seed at the Lane Sectional, got production up and down the lineup. Six players had hits, six had RBIs and six scored runs.
Senior shortstop Ryan Lin-Peistrup went 1-for-3 with three runs and one RBI after a hard-hit double off the left-field wall. Junior third baseman Matthew Raymond had one hit and four RBIs from his clean-up position, while senior first baseman and No. 9 hitter Sean Tully finished with two hits and one run. Senior second baseman Danny O’Brien scored two runs and drove in one from the No. 8 spot.
“It was important for us to stay committed to who we are as a club,” Bridich said. “For the most part, we did that. We didn’t see very many strikes, but we handled it well. We want to continue to peak.”
Senior right-hander Rich Campbell went 3 1/3 innings to earn the win. Senior left-hander Chris Toomey threw the final 1 2/3 innings, striking out three. The two combined to pitch a no-hitter.
Loyola plays either No. 6 Fenwick or No. 11 Notre Dame on Saturday in the regional final. The time is to be determined. Bridich said junior Jason Vrbancic will be back in the lineup for the first time since breaking his leg April 22 in a game against Brother Rice. Vrbancic will be the designated hitter.