1990 Baseball Team (2003)
With few exceptions, Loyola baseball translates as competitive and stellar -- and thirteen years ago, Coach John OÕLoughlinÕs talent-laden Ramblers (capably assisted by current Head Coach Ray Del Fava) re-defined those accounts to stake their claim as the greatest in school history. Capturing LoyolaÕs first CCL crown since 1973, the 1990 edition reached the State sectional championship, thereby matching LoyolaÕs farthest post-season advance, until then, set by the 1982 team. More telling, perhaps, is that baseballÕs numerous titles in the 1990Õs (two CCL championships and three State sectional appearances) had their beginnings with tonightÕs honorees. Spurred by senior catcher Pat Mahoney (41 hits, 10 doubles, 11 homeruns, 33 RBIÕs, and a .525 batting average), Loyola finished with a gaudy 23-6 record. Its 14-2 conference mark was, until then, a school best, forging a first-time ever Tribune and Sun-Times Top 10 area ranking -- ninth, to be exact. On its playoff run, the 1990 team climbed to number three in the polls when, on Memorial Day, it lost a heartbreaker to Evanston in the State sectional championship. The Ramblers, meanwhile, had gained a reputation for dramatic come-from-behind victories. The string began when they scored two in the bottom of the eighth to beat undefeated St. Laurence, 2-1. Two days later they plated four in the sixth to humble eventual South Champion Brother Rice, 5-4. In a double-header against North co-leader Fenwick, Loyola scored one in the bottom of the seventh of game one to win 6-5 and one in the last of the eighth to steal game two, 5-4. The team clinched the CCL title by scoring six in the sixth inning at De La Salle to win 7-5 and finished its heroics in the State tournament by scoring two in its last at-bat to shock favored Maine South, 5-4. During this season of cardiac finishes, the team put together a seven-game win streak to start the year, an eight-game CCL streak in the middle of the season, and another seven game run before its controversial loss to Evanston. Seven players, including sophomore Peter Patton (Hall of Fame, 1992), junior Tim Wolff, and senior Tom Ratcliffe, batted .300 or better. Three pitchers -- seniors Ryan Larsen and Chris Priebe and junior Mike McCarte Ð- won eighteen games against but four losses. For the first time in Loyola baseball history, moreover, five Ramblers -- Mahoney, Priebe, Larsen, Dan Gesicki, and Brian Doherty -- drew All-North Section recognition; for the first time, three players -- Mahoney, Priebe, Larsen -- bagged All-League honors; and for the first time, one player Ð Pat Mahoney (Hall of Fame, 1990) -- emerged as the All-State team captain. For his efforts, Coach OÕLoughlin received the fifth of his six Lawless Coach-of-the-Year awards, followed that same year by his induction into the Loyola Athletic Hall of Fame. Steeped in a tradition of athletic excellence, Loyola prides itself on storybook seasons. Therein, the 1990 Baseball Team rightfully boasts its full measure.