BASEBALL: Senior catcher Jason Vrbancic has put together an impressive offensive season.
Entering this week, he’s hitting .329 with an on-base percentage of .433. He’s tied for the team lead with five home runs and has team-best 32 RBIs.
In 13 Catholic Blue games, the University of Chicago-bound Vrbancic hit .395 with four homers and 21 RBIs. He drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh in an 8-7 win over Providence Catholic on May 8. He hit a grand slam in Loyola’s 9-8 loss to the Celtics on May 10.
But it’s Vrbancic’s defense that draws the most praise from Loyola head coach Nick Bridich. In his first full season at catcher, he has no errors. Vrbancic played first base last season.
“To be able to do what he’s done at the plate and at catcher requires a lot of physical and mental capability,” Bridich said. “He’s handled everything so well.”
Despite drawing the attention from opposing pitchers by batting in the middle of the order, Vrbancic has showed maturity and discipline at the plate, according to Bridich. Vrbancic has 14 walks and 14 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances.
“They pitch to him differently, lot of offspeed stuff,” Bridich said. “But when he comes up to the box, we feel like good things are going to happen. He has a lot of quality at-bats.”
The Ramblers (16-9-1, 7-7) host Fremd on Tuesday and Glenbrook North on Thursday before playing at Evanston on Saturday. They conclude the regular season Monday at home against Palatine. Loyola game Monday against De La Salle was cancelled due to inclement weather.
BOYS LACROSSE: The Ramblers snapped a two-game losing streak with two wins last week.
It started with a 14-7 win over Grayslake North at home Wednesday. Before the victory, the Ramblers recognized seniors Quinn Callahan (pictured above), Quinn Cashion, Michael Cutler, Andrew Forsyth, Jack Gallagher, John Gierut, Luca Lazzaretto, Kyle McGarvey, Matthew Parma and George Stanton.
Sophomore Kaden Keller had a team-best five points (2 goals, 3 assists). Forsyth finished with four points (3 goals, 1 assist), and junior Mike Feuer totaled three points (1 goal, 2 assists). Junior Mick Burden won 14 of 18 faceoffs, while Lazzaretto led the defense with three groundballs and one caused turnover.
Loyola then earned a 10-7 win over Lake Forest on the road Saturday. Junior Timothy Hackett scored four goals, while juniors Nolan Chow and Najee Taylor both finished with two goals and one assist.
The Ramblers (14-3) close out the regular season this week. They play at Glenbrook North on Tuesday and at St. Rita on Thursday.
BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Eight seniors were honored before their final home game, and they went out with a 25-9, 25-12 win over DePaul Prep on Monday.
Seniors Rees Gray, Nick Howard, Drake Johnson, Ethan Rowe, Jesse Tandoc, Declan Tom, Matt Wiertel and Clark Winkler all were recognized.
Wiertel led the team with five kills. Johnson contributed two kills and two aces. Gray had 10 assists. Junior Henry Clemons finished with four kills, while junior Jack Howard had three kills. Junior Gavin Elliott had three blocks. Sophomore John Hitt totaled eight assists and eight digs.
Loyola (22-12) finishes the regular season Thursday on the road against Glenbrook South.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola