One of the best seasons in program history came to an end Monday with an 8-4 loss to Huntley in the Class 4A supersectional at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
The defeat did nothing to diminish what the team accomplished this season. The Ramblers (23-10-1) won at least 21 games for a third year in a row and captured the program’s first sectional championship since 2008 and second overall.
“We deserved to be here,” Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said. “This group is unparalleled as student-athletes. I’m so thankful and fortunate for Loyola giving me and our coaching staff the opportunity to be part of this. It’s an honor and pleasure.”
The Ramblers were hitless and without a baserunner through four innings and fell behind 6-0. They rallied with two runs in each of the fifth and sixth, but they left the bases loaded in both innings. Loyola went down in order in the top of the seventh.
Meanwhile, Huntley got its leadoff batter on base in the first five innings. In the team’s four-run third, the Red Raiders had five hits, including three doubles and one triple. They finished with 11 hits. Senior clean-up hitter Matt Rodriguez completed the cycle and drove in four runs.
“Hats off to Huntley,” Bridich said. “That was one of the best offensive performances we competed against this year. They strung together a lot of extra-base hits, and it was tough.”
Loyola got something going in the fifth after senior Matthew Raymond hit a one-out double. Senior Dan Hrvojevic brought him home with a single to make it 6-1. Senior Trey Torain later drew a bases-loaded walk to score senior Will Jackson.
After Huntley added a run to go ahead 7-2, junior Jake Novak led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Jackson knocked in courtesy runner and senior Aidan Dunham to cut the deficit to three, 7-4.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Bridich said. “We always play seven innings and always grind it out.”
Raymond had two of Loyola’s four hits.