RIVERSIDE – Riverside Brookfield baseball has been playing much better lately, and a major reason why is because of the play of Will Kincanon.
Not that Kincanon was struggling earlier in the year, but he's taken his game up to a new level recently and the Bulldogs are heating up as the playoffs approach. RB swept Fenton and Elmwood Park to finish 12-6 in the Metro Suburban Conference and 21-10 overall.
"I just think that we're playing better as a team," Kincanon said. "I think we're just hitting the ball better in timely situations."
Kincanon struck out 12 in an 8-0 win against Fenton on May 19 and had three RBIs at the plate. On Saturday he struck out 15 more Bison in a 9-5 win. Jake Surprenant had three doubles to complete the sweep in a make up game.
Kincanon is up to 105 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings on the season. He is 8-2 with a 0.99 ERA.
"I think I'm throwing the ball better than I was last year actually," he said. "The record doesn't show. I have more velocity and my curveball is better, I think. My change up is probably the only thing that's not as consistent as last year."
Connor Berek has also been pitching well this season. The junior has a 2.23 ERA and a 6-2 record after giving up just one unearned run against Elmwood Park on May 20. Berek is expected to start the playoff opener Thursday against the Tigers, which will take place at Clemente.
Having Berek start the regional semifinal allows Kincanon to start a regional final, likely against the hosts.
"Obviously Thursday we're probably favored," Kincanon said. "Once we get past Thursday I think we got a good shot to beat Clemente. I think if we score a couple runs that's enough for us to win with me on the mound."
RB last met Clemente in the playoffs in 2012 when the Wildcats won a regional final 4-0 at Guerin.
During the May 21 win against Elmwood Park, RB held its senior night for Kincanon, Jimmy Doherty, Matt Gara, Sam Smith, Max Duve, Greg Catrambone, Justin Agne, David Sauer, Gabe Lopez, Adam Martinson and manager Ryan Kunish.
RB sweeps Elmwood Park
Game 1: RB won 5-1
• Connor Berek: 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 4 BB
• Kevin Fitzgerald: 3-for-3, 2 R
Game 2: RB won 4-1
• Adam Martinson: 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H
Game 3: RB won 17-5
• Brian Kulaga: 3 H, 2B, HR
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