BASEBALL — After Thursday’s season-ending loss to Glenbrook North, Loyola players and coaches celebrated the team’s postseason run, but lamented the Ramblers’ inability to make adjustments at the plate in the finale.
No. 10 seed Loyola (16-20) surprised many by winning a regional title. But in the Glenbrook South Sectional semifinal, the Ramblers’ bats were silenced by Glenbrook North junior Peter Resnick, who allowed no hits during the 3-0 win.Loyola hit only one ball into the outfield.
Resnick, who had been the team’s closer, was making his first start of the season for the No. 2-seeded Spartans.
Early in the contest, it became apparent the home plate umpire had a wide strike zone for both teams, but the Ramblers hitters never changed their approach.
“The umpire was consistent for both teams. He gave the outside corner,” Loyola head coach Bill San Hamel said. “(Resnick) was consistent in hitting his locations. We failed to make the adjustment and take the ball the other way.
“(Resnick) did a great job of getting ahead and then mixing it up. We didn’t have many quality at-bats. But it’s a credit to him. It’s unfortunate because it would have been nice to get some base runners on and be aggressive (on the bases). But we couldn’t today.”
Only one Loyola runner reached base, when sophomore Danny Rafferty draew a first-inning walk. Senior Pat Rahill’s flyout to left field in the fourth was Loyola’s only ball to reach the outfield.
Ramblers junior lefty Jack Richmond started and kept his team in the game, going five innings, giving up four hits, three earned runs, striking out five and walking three. Rahill pitched an inning of scoreless relief.
Glenbrook North, which had just five hits, got on the board in the bottom of the third when senior shortstop Brett Synek singled in senior centerfielder Charlie Apfelbach. Synek then came around to score on junior right fielder Chad Bruce’s RBI single.
The Spartans got their third run in the sixth when senior DH Sean Thomas doubled and then scored on an RBI double by senior left fielder Jack Day.
“Richmond pitched a very good game,” San Hamel said. “We wanted to pitch around Synek a little bit (in the third). But two runs (in that inning) is not a lot to come back from. But we couldn’t make the adjustment to their pitcher today.”
The Ramblers still had a season to remember, rebounding from a 1-7 start to claim a regional championship. The team clearly improved by facing quality competition in the Chicago Catholic League.
“We talked the whole year when the wins were not piling up, that we knew we were a good team,” Rahill said. “We knew we could play well, and that showed in the postseason.”
The team will lose the likes of Rahill, who hopes to walk on at Notre Dame, shortstop John Stafford (Sewanee: University of the South) and catcher/third baseman Eric Hagman (preferred walk on at Southern Illinois).
Loyola also had a young team and will welcome back several talented performers in 2012.
Danny Rafferty highlights the list of returnees. He was a regular in the Ramblers outfield, batted second in the order and had a fine season on the mound, pitching a no-hitter against Lane Tech and striking out 13 in the regional final upset of Glenbrook South.
Fellow sophomore Matt Fallon was the Ramblers’ starting center fielder.
As for the junior class, Richmond is back, outfielder Willy Palivos batted leadoff in the sectional semifinal, Logan Spurlin was a regular behind the plate, Nick Haben is expected to take over at shortstop and corner infielders Jon Savarise and Fred Smart were out late in the season because of injuries and illness.
“We have a talented junior class and two sophomores who started. Hopefully that will prove to be good for their development,” San Hamel said. “We have a good team coming back. But we have a lot of work to do this summer to get it going.”