LA GRANGE PARK — It was just the second week of April, but it felt like playoff baseball.
Riverside Brookfield and Nazareth played an intense 10-inning game that resulted in a 4-4 tie ended due to darkness on Monday in La Grange Park.
The Bulldogs had something to prove against the Roadrunners, which have earned state trophies each of the last two years. They proved it, as much as a tie can.
“This is the kind of game that prepares us for the end of the season or even some conference games against tough opponents like Glenbard (South) or Illiana,” said RB coach Dallas Till. “Obviously not happy 100 percent with the end result, but I’m very proud of the kids.”
Will Kincanon smacked a solo home run in the first inning to give the Bulldogs (8-1-1) an early lead, but Nazareth (9-0-1) responded quickly.
The Roadrunners scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning and one more in the second. Naz sent 14 runners to the plate in the first two innings, but left the bases loaded both times.
RB tied the game on a two-RBI single by C.J. Duffek in the third and both starting pitchers settled down after that.
Bulldog starter Matt Quintana gave up just one more hit after the second inning and pitched seven innings. Naz starter Kyle Piotrowski lasted nine innings and faced just 33 batters.
“That was a first,” Piotrowski said of pitching nine innings. “I had a low pitch count. Coach had faith in me and I just went out there and kept throwing.”
Duffek drove in another run in the top of the tenth on a double, but the Roadrunners again had the answer.
A leadoff double by Andrew Barreto started the rally and pinch runner Chaz Usher scored on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs entered with an eight-game winning streak, but none of those games had the atmosphere Monday’s game did.
“It’s almost like a playoff like regional type,” said RB senior Kevin Garvey. “I think it’s great because it battle tests us. This is a good game that will get us ready for conference and playoffs down the line when we start seeing some better teams.”