In his first season on varsity, Trey Torain (pictured above) has been one of Loyola’s best hitters.
Entering this week, the junior right fielder is batting .344 and has an OPS of 1.188, which is tops on the team. He leads the Ramblers (11-2 overall, 3-0 Catholic Blue) in home runs (3) and is tied for first in RBIs (14). He has scored 12 runs.
All of his homers have been over a stretch of seven games since April 1, including the one he hit in Saturday’s 7-1 win over St. Ignatius in Chicago.
“I look to go gap to gap and put the ball in play,” Torain said. “I am looking to drive the ball first. Recently, I’ve been lucky to elevate the ball and put a couple of them out.”
Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said he isn’t surprised by Torain’s power surge or his overall success offensively.
“He’s always been known as a very good athlete, and with a lot of players like Trey, it was about playing the right caliber of competition consistently,” Bridich said. “Once he started doing that, he was going to get better and start to perform. We are excited for him, but it’s a daily process. We are trying to get him to not have expectations. We want him to trust himself, see the ball and put a good swing on it.”
Torain started the season as the No. 6 hitter in the lineup, but he’s batted in the clean-up position as well as the No. 5 hole. He’s hit one homer in each spot in the order. Saturday’s home run came when he batted sixth.
“Early in the year, being a young kid, we felt like there would be less pressure on him to hit sixth,” Bridich said. “But we wanted to try moving him around. It’s as much him as what other players are doing, too.”
In addition to producing offensively, Torain is holding his own at a new position in the field. A former catcher, he’s committed one error in 18 chances in the outfield. Bridich said he considers Torain’s future in the sport as an outfielder, not as a catcher. It helps that Torain possesses plus speed, according to Bridich.
“I feel like it’s been a great switch, a positive change,” Torain said. “The biggest thing I had to get used to was seeing fly balls, but I had a lot of reps this winter to prepare myself.”
Total team: Looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see why the Ramblers are off to a good start.
Loyola is batting .322, has a 1.21 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP and has a .929 fielding percentage. Simply put, the Ramblers do everything well.
“We have worked really hard to get to this point,” Bridich said. “We have been focused on what it takes to win, and that means pitching and defense.”
Through 13 games, eight pitchers have thrown at least 4 2/3 innings. Senior right-hander Rich Campbell leads the team in innings at 19 1/3. He’s 2-1 with an ERA of 0.724 after earning the victory against St. Ignatius.
Junior RHP Henry Haracz, junior LHP PJ McKermitt and junior RHP Ben Wagner all have pitched at least 10 innings. Senior LHP Chris Toomey, junior RHP Chris Heywood, junior RHP Will Jackson and junior RHP Nolan Graf all have logged significant innings.
Haracz, Wagner, Toomey and Heywood all have pitched at least 7 2/3 innings and have ERAs of 0.955 or lower.
Busy week: Loyola opens a five-game week Monday with a home against DePaul Prep. The Ramblers host Fenwick on Tuesday, visit De La Salle on Wednesday and play Bishop McNamara at home Thursday before welcoming Brother Rice to Glenview on Saturday for the first Blue division game of the season.
“We believe we are one of the best teams, but we have to be ready to play every day,” Bridich said. “It’s baseball, on any given day, you can be upset. Even the teams in the White have a pitcher or two that can give you fits. It’s great for us. It makes us better.”
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola