BASEBALL: In the bottom of the fourth Thursday, the Ramblers had an inning to remember. They sent 25 batters to the plate, the first 16 of which reached safely, and scored 20 runs in their 21-9 win over Bishop McNamara in a Catholic League game. Head coach Nick Bridich said he didn’t think any team he’s been part of has ever scored that many runs in one inning. “I forgot where the inning started and ended,” he said. “We didn’t have anybody out for what felt like a half hour or longer. That really put the pressure on [Bishop McNamara].” Loyola hit for the cycle in the inning. Junior Henry Haracz had the highlight of the inning with his grand slam, and he reached base three times. Junior Will Jackson had a two-run triple and a single. Senior Jack Blindt, senior Quinn Janssen, junior Matthew Raymond and junior Jason Vrbanic all hit doubles. Blindt had two hits in the inning and reached base three times. “We were not comfortable early on offense,” Bridich said. “They located the ball down and away well. But we weren’t quick outs, and we made them work for their outs. It eventually paid off for us.” Haracz finished the game with six RBIs, while Blindt drove in three runs. Senior Drew Bartholow, junior Trey Torain and Raymond all knocked in two runs.
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: Senior and Alabama-bound Margot Dooley shined brightly under the lights Saturday night at Palatine’s distance meet, which featured the 800 meters, 1,600 and 3,200. Running in the elite division of the 800, she set a program record with her time of 2 minutes, 14.43 seconds. It was the seventh-fastest time in the state this season. “It was impressive and exciting and will be a confidence boost for her the rest of the season,” head coach ChrisJon Simon said. “It was a one-of-a-kind performance.” What’s more, Simon said he and Dooley agreed she can run faster. “That’s the great thing,” he said. Highland Park freshman Stephanie Kriss won with a 2:12.83. The top seven runners were separated by less than two seconds. “The depth of talent in the 800 is amazing,” Simon said. “It was a thrilling race.” Loyola juniors Lainey McKinley and Emily Plodzeen also experienced personal-best performances at Palatine. In only her second race in more than a year, McKinley clocked a 2:19.62 in the 800, which is under the state-qualifying cut of 2:19.88. Plodzeen ran a 5:18.03 to win her heat in the 1,600. According to Simon, her time was a lifetime best by nearly 10 seconds. “It was an awesome night,” he said. “Each of the girls walked off the track standing tall and looking confident.”
BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Coming off a 3-2 finish at Downers Grove South’s tournament last weekend, the Ramblers begin the second half of the Catholic Blue schedule Tuesday at home against Brother Rice. They then travel to Wheaton to play St. Francis in another league match. Loyola (12-11, 3-2) lost to Brother Rice and beat St. Francis during the first round of the conference schedule. At Downers Grove South, the Ramblers went 1-1 in pool play and 2-1 in bracket play. They closed out the tournament with two wins, including a 25-19, 25-17 victory over Maine South in the finale. Sophomore outside hitter Jack Howard totaled 33 kills in three games of bracket play, while senior outside hitter Matt Byrne had 23 kills. Senior setter Jim Dunbar finished with 79 assists. Junior outside hitter Matt Wiertel had five kills and three blocks in a 25-23, 22-25, 25-17 loss to Glenbard East on Saturday. In a 20-25, 25-18, 25-23 win over Naperville North on Saturday, junior right-side hitter Drake Johnson finished with three kills and three blocks.
BOYS WATER POLO: In a season that has seen two captains forced to the sideline for medical reasons, juniors John Merucci (pictured above) and Tony Spallone both have stepped into bigger roles in the water. “They’ve been warriors,” head coach Dan Hengelmann said. “I don’t know that they’ve come out for any meaningful minutes this season. John has turned into an incredible offensive player, while Tony has been an anchor on defense.” That’s been important as the Ramblers (13-7-2, 6-2 in MCAC) now have two senior captains on the sideline. Quinn Carr has been out since the start of the season, and Morgan recently joined him after suffering a concussion. “Despite those two big blows, we’ve been playing well,” Hengelmann said. “What we have to do is figure out a lineup.” Seniors Nathaniel Guenther and Danny McGowan are two who have seen their roles increase. Guenther has been the biggest surprise, considering he started playing in the field the first week of April for the first time on varsity. “He’s been electric and has changed our dynamic,” Hengelmann said of the former goalie. “Danny has worked into the rotation as well. That gives us two great swimmers.” The Ramblers will recognize their seniors Monday when they host Lockport, and they end the regular season this weekend at Stevenson’s tournament. The MCAC tournament is May 5-6 at Fenwick.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola