BROOKFIELD – High school sports are supposed to be fun.
Despite a winning record, that fact seems to be escaping Riverside Brookfield’s baseball team.
The Bulldogs lost two out of three games to Ridgewood last week, dropping their second series and falling to 2-4 in the Metro Suburban Conference. RB started the next MSC series Tuesday against Timothy Christian.
RB was 10-7 overall entering Tuesday’s game, but the mood about the team is drastically different than a year ago.
“We’re just not having fun,” RB coach Dallas Till said. “It’s just a whole different atmosphere and environment. I told them I’ve coached teams that were 3-24 in basketball before, and they were at least having more fun than we’re having. We’re 10-7, that’s not miserable. We shouldn’t be miserable out here.”
While Till will search for a way to liven up his team, senior Will Kincanon will try to rediscover his form of the past two seasons. The Middle Tennessee State commit took the loss in Thursday’s series finale, a 4-1 defeat in which the Bulldogs managed just three hits.
Despite striking out eight and walking just one, Kincanon shockingly fell to 0-2 in MSC starts.
“It was definitely my worst start,” Kincanon said. “I just got to be better. I got to be a senior. I got to lead. Just like sophomore year and junior year.”
Kincanon still allowed just three earned runs in the loss against Ridgewood and is pitching well. Maybe he’s not as dominant as he would expect of himself, but pitching hasn’t been the problem for RB so far.
The Bulldogs have allowed just 17 runs in six conference games.
Junior Connor Berek has both MSC wins on the mound. He has given up one run in each of his two starts. In the second game against Ridgewood, Nico Ranieri gave up two runs in six innings, but RB lost 3-2 in nine innings and had just four hits.
“Our pitching has actually been pretty good, but the team feels totally different because we aren’t winning games,” Kincanon said. “Last year, we were winning and everything was great. Right now, we’re just not playing well.”
There is a chance the Bulldogs may not defend their MSC title from a year ago, but there is plenty of time to get the bats going and gear up for a postseason run.
“Hitting is contagious, and we’re not putting anything together,” Till said. “I’m struggling to find an answer for why we are struggling.”
Riverside Brookfield vs. Ridgewood
Game 1: Bulldogs won 5-1 • Connor Berek: 6.1 IP, 1 R, 9 K, 2 BB, 6 H • Jimmy Doherty: 3 hits • Kevin Fitzgerald: 2 hits
Game 2: Bulldogs lost 3-2 (9 innings) • Nico Ranieri: 6 IP, 2 R
Game 3: Bulldogs lost 4-1 • Will Kincanon: 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 K, 1 BB