BASEBALL: Senior Collin Gillespie is a pitcher Loyola head coach Nick Bridich wants on the mound in situations like Saturday.
With the Ramblers leading Providence Catholic by three going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the right-handed Gillespie entered the game with one baserunner on first and no outs. After recording two outs in a row, he issued a walk before allowing a run-scoring double. Gillespie struck out the next batter to strand the tying run at second base.
The Ramblers’ 6-4 win earned them a sweep of the Celtics and a 3-1 record after the first week of play in the Catholic Blue. Gillespie also closed out Loyola’s 6-4 victory over Providence on Thursday.
“What he’s doing this year is a by-product of his work ethic,” Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said. “He’s confident and clear-headed out there. Tough situations aren’t an issue with him.”
Tied 3-all through six, Loyola senior Jake Novak delivered a two-run single to put the Ramblers ahead 5-3. Junior Colin Summerhill added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3.
Summerhill finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs. His two-run double in the fourth got Loyola on the scoreboard. Junior Ryan Nevins finished with one hit and two runs. Senior left-hander Joe McKermitt went six innings to get the win, surrendering four runs and striking out five.
“Joe got better as the game went on, and he kept us in it,” Bridich said. “We aren’t perfect, but we have guys coming up with big pitches when it matters.”
According to Bridich, the error-less defense, led by senior shortstop Jack Moran, contributed to the win. Bridich pointed to a play Moran made in the bottom of the third as an example.
“It’s a hard hit ball, going into left field, in a spot nobody gets to,” Bridich said. “He tracks it down and throws him out at first. That’s a momentum-changer.”
Winners of three in a row, the Ramblers (9-4, 3-1) host Brother Rice on Tuesday. The No. 6 Crusaders are one of four Catholic Blue teams ranked in the top 9 by Prep Baseball Report. Providence is No. 7, and St. Rita is No. 9. St. Laurence sits at No. 2.
“This team has a lot of potential, that’s for sure,” Bridich said.
BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: In Loyola’s first full-field outdoor meet of the season, senior Jack Loveland won one individual event and ran on two relay teams that finished in the top three Saturday as the Ramblers tied for third at Bartlett’s invitational.
Loveland’s highlight was finishing first in the 400 meters in 51.40 seconds. He also contributed to the 4×400 relay placing second in 3:40.22 and the 4×100 relay taking third in 46.52.
“He’s running well and is much stronger than he was last year,” Loyola head coach Dan Seeberg said. “We want to keep him sharp.”
Greyson Schneider was another athlete who performed well Saturday. The junior took second in both the 110 high hurdles (15.88) and 300 intermediate hurdles (43.78). He led off the runner-up 4×400 relay team. He also finished fourth in pole vault with a mark of 11 feet, 0 inches after setting his career high Tuesday at 13-0.
Freshman Spencer Werner won the 1,600 (4:36.59) and ran on the 4×400 relay. Junior Kieran Thompson took second in the high jump (5-8), and sophomore Spencer Dzyacky placed second in the 3,200 (9:59.14).
“We were anxious to get going,” Seeberg said. “We are trying to figure out our lineup and get guys ready for the end of the season. We had a nice day.”
GIRLS LACROSSE: Loyola head coach John Dwyer said the team’s annual trip to the East Coast to play some of the country’s best programs always pays off, but he admitted it varies from year to year when the Ramblers cash in.
In their first game back, the Ramblers (10-1) beat Rockford (Michigan) 11-5 at home Saturday.
Sophomore Ellie Lazzaretto scored four goals, while senior Brynn Holohan added two. Junior Annabelle Burke (1 goal, 2 assists) and freshman Maley Starr (1 goal, 2 assists) both finished with three points. Senior Emily Doell totaled one goal and one assist.
“When we go out east, we end up realizing we can beat anybody in the country, if we play well,” Dwyer said. “It benefits us, even if it doesn’t kick in right away.”
Loyola has its toughest in-state test Monday when it hosts New Trier.
“We had a good week of practice and a good win [Saturday],” Dwyer said. “We will be ready.”
BOYS LACROSSE: In the final tune-up before Tuesday’s game at New Trier — a rematch of last year’s state final — the Ramblers earned a 13-4 win over St. Ignatius on Friday in Chicago. Senior Nolan Chow, junior Owen Zidar and freshman Connor Ditomasso each scored three goals apiece. Senior Patrick Cronin contributed two goals.
It was the fifth consecutive victory for defending state champion Loyola (6-3). The Ramblers beat St. Viator 10-6 on Wednesday, highlighted by senior Mike Feuer’s three goals. The Ramblers are 5-0 against in-state opponents.
Loyola beat New Trier 7-2 to take home the state title in lacrosse’s first season as an IHSA sport.
BOYS VOLLEYBALL: The Ramblers begin second round of play in the Catholic Blue when they host Brother Rice on Tuesday. Loyola (15-4, 2-1) beat the Crusaders 25-14, 25-13 on March 26. Its lone league loss came to conference leader St. Rita, which is 3-0.
The Ramblers ended the week Friday with a 16-25, 25-21, 25-19 loss to New Trier on the road. Senior Henry Clemons totaled 12 kills and eight digs. Senior Jack Howard had 10 kills, and senior Gavin Elliott contributed three kills and three blocks. Junior John Hitt finished with 26 assists, and sophomore Ryan Merk had 15 digs.
Photo credit: Margo Grogan/Sports Depiction