For more than 20 minutes after its 9-0 loss to St. Laurence on Tuesday in Burbank, the Loyola baseball huddled in shallow left field.
Senior catcher Brian Vance said it was a player-led meeting that addressed concerns the Ramblers have had since they started the Catholic Blue portion of their conference schedule.
“Things have got to change,” Vance said. “We know we have played some talented teams, but they are beatable teams. No one has been locked in. It’s like when we get down early, we give up and stop competing. Those teams can smell blood, and they go for the kill.”
St. Laurence, which is ranked No. 1 by the Prep Baseball Report, scored four in the first and four more in the second to go up 8-0.
“It seems like we gave up after that,” Vance said.
After the Ramblers got the Vikings to go 1-2-3 in the third, junior right fielder Trey Torain led off the fourth with a single. But Loyola couldn’t string anything together.
Senior right-hander John O’Flaherty pitched another good inning in the bottom half of the fourth, but the Ramblers were unable to capitalize on offense, even though they had one on base with one out.
“We had several opportunities for some momentum, but the dugout was quiet,” Vance said. “It’s like nothing good was happening.”
To its credit, Loyola pushed the game to the full seven innings despite trailing 8-0 after two. But it was a small consolation to a team that has lost six of its last seven games.
Senior left fielder Quinn Janssen, senior center fielder Will Jackson, senior shortstop Ryan Lin-Piestrup and Torain all had one hit apiece.
Junior left-hander PJ McKermitt went 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. O’Flaherty pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief, and junior right-hander Patrick Murray threw one inning of scoreless relief.
Uncharacteristically, the Ramblers committed four errors, which resulted in five unearned runs.
St. Laurence was the latest in a line of talented teams Loyola has played. Mount Carmel, ranked No. 7 by Prep Baseball Report, and 10th-ranked Brother Rice both swept the Ramblers (16-8, 7-6).
Next up is a two-game series with St. Francis that starts on the road Wednesday. The Ramblers host the Spartans on Thursday. On Saturday, Loyola visits No. 6-ranked St. Rita and hosts the Mustangs on Monday.
Vance said he hopes Tuesday’s game served as a wake-up call for the Ramblers.
“I think it was good for us to have that long talk,” he said. “We will be better for it.”