1992 Baseball Team (2004)
Paced by a three-ace pitching rotation, superb fielding, and sure-fire contact hitting, the 1992 Baseball Team made Coach John OÕLoughlinÕs farewell campaign one to remember. It did so in dominant, record-setting fashion, rampaging to a Chicago Catholic League crown and cementing its place among the elite nines in Rambler baseball history. The Ramblers game early that season was as cold as the Chicago spring weather. Fielding a mix of new players with veterans, Coach OÕLoughlin and assistant Ray Del Fava knew that it would take time for this team to mature. Mature thy did. After a mediocre opening of 6-7, the Ramblers went on a tear, winning 17 of their last 19, including a record stretch of ten straight. They barnstormed through the Catholic League with a 16-1 mark, setting league records for wins in a season and for best winning percentage which remain today. Eight of those sixteen wins were shutouts, which is still a Loyola record today. Roaming the infield were Peter Patton (Hall of Fame, 1992) at first, Mike Menyhart at second, Kevin Correa at short, Tom Kardaras at third, and Mike Seitzinger at catcher, while Pete Marino, Mike Welch, and Billy McCarte patrolled the outfield. Superb depth saw key contributions from Alex Denja, Dan Kilburg, Brian Murphy, Jason Penyich, Ziv Lalich, Darren Strotman, and Pat Clifford. Defensively, this Loyola team rewrote the Catholic League record book, setting five new marks in all. Pitching was the teamÕs great strength, with three-pitch masters Joe Neylan and Brandon Leese (Hall of Fame, 2004) joining fastballer Peter Patton in a dominating rotation. Together the Big Three combined for a 20-5 record, including nine shutouts. Backing them up in the field was a superb set of glove men, responsible for a new Catholic League record for fewest errors in a season, a scant 23 over the course of 17 games. Together, the pitchers and fielders set four more league records: fewest hits allowed (92), fewest runs allowed (38), shutouts (8), and lowest e.r.a. (1.53). Offensively, the North Shore hitmen pressured opposing defenses with a contact-hitting batting style, forsaking the pure power game for a steady stream of men on base. Accordingly, they set a new Catholic League record for fewest strikeouts (65) while averaging 12 hits and 7.8 runs per game, all Loyola records. Leading the way with the gaudiest batting numbers were Welch (.400, four HRÕs), McCarte (.336, six HRÕs), Menyhart (.367), Marino (.309), Patton (.303, four HRÕs), and Correa (.300, nine extra base hits). Five Ramblers Ð Patton, Neylon, Correa, Welch, and Leese Ð were voted to the Catholic League North Section team, while three of these Ð Patton, Welch, and Leese Ð were selected All-Catholic League. Welch and Leese topped the individual honors with selection to the All-Chicago Area team. The 1992 Baseball Team was Coach John OÕLoughlinÕs last Rambler team after twenty-eight years at the helm. His final record of 412-228 placed him among the top ten winningest coaches in Illinois baseball history. He was responsible for resuscitating Loyola Academy baseball and building it into one of the top programs in the area and the state. The 1992 Rambler squad provided him the perfect send-off, and in doing so, established its place in Loyola baseball lore.