ELK GROVE VILLAGE — It took six innings for the Loyola baseball team’s bats to get going in its regional championship game with Elk Grove, but the arm of junior Jack Yalowitz led the Ramblers until that time came in Saturday’s 16-2 win.
In the bottom of the first, Yalowitz got out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam with a strikeout and an inning-ending double play. He followed that with two more strikeouts in a one-two-three second inning.
After the Ramblers scored three runs in the top of the third, Elk Grove came back with two runs against Yalowitz in the bottom of the inning and had a chance to score more with a runner on first and only one out. Again, Yalowitz got the Grenadier batter to hit into a double play. He wouldn’t allow another run the rest of the game.
“That’s what this team needed out of [Yalowitz] today,” Loyola coach Nick Bridich said. “Having the experience to put the team on his back and say, ‘This ball is mine. Coach, I’m not coming out of this game, I want this.’ You love hearing that out of your guys.”
Two consecutive scoreless innings brought Loyola to bat in the top of the sixth. After a first-batter flyout, the Ramblers had seven straight batters reach base before out number two, a sacrifice fly. By then, Loyola was up 9-2, and three more hits in the inning increased the lead to 11-2.
“We were confident at the plate and were seeing the ball really well,” said sophomore designated hitter Thomas Smart, who finished with four RBI. “And we came through in clutch situations.”
With potentially just six outs remaining in its season, Elk Grove needed to have an answer to the Loyola flurry. Instead, Yalowitz pitched another perfect inning, striking out the second and third batters.
“I felt stronger as the game went on,” Yalowitz said. “We kept putting on runs, and I just kept putting up zeros on the board.”
Loyola kept hitting in the seventh, adding five more runs on six hits to make it 16-2.
Yalowitz stepped back on the mound in the bottom of the inning to earn the complete-game win in the Class 4A Elk Grove Regional final. He tallied another strikeout, his seventh of the game, for the second out. He allowed just six hits and one walk on the day.
Tommy Bordignon, Fran O’Malley, Jacob Frank, Smart and Yalowitz each collected three hits for the Ramblers, who finished with 21 hits in the game.
Loyola moved on to the sectional, which it hosts. The Ramblers will play New Trier at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“At this point in the year it comes down to confidence at the plate,” Bridich said. “We don’t expect to change anything [in the sectional].”