CHICAGO – A year ago Will Kincanon pitched a no-hitter in a regional final, but winning a regional this year meant more to the senior.
Last year's Bulldogs team was expected to win a regional after winning a school-record 32 games. The current version of RB baseball endured a slow start in conference play with a young roster but made it to the second week of the postseason.
"I was probably more excited about this year's win than last year's," Kincanon said. "We were expected to win last year."
Kincanon is pitching so well that he said he didn't have his best stuff in the regional final against Clemente, but still limited the Wildcats to one run on three hits and two walks. The senior right-hander struck out seven batters in the 9-1 victory.
"My stuff wasn't that good, but I just pitched and located my fastball and got ahead," Kincanon said. "My team made the plays for me. I just battled and did what I do."
Kincanon nearly didn't get to pitch in Saturday's final at Clemente. The regional semifinal was a bit dicey for a short while.
RB (23-11) jumped ahead 5-0 on Elmwood Park, a team the Bulldogs swept in a three-game Metro Suburban Conference series in the final week of the regular season, but the Tigers scored five times in the top of the sixth to tie the game. The Bulldogs bounced back with a six spot in the bottom half.
In the final, Kincanon outdueled Clemente ace Jonathan Figueroa, a North Carolina Central recruit. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the second inning and led 2-1 entering the sixth inning. A home run from Brian Kulaga extended the lead and a big six-run seventh inning sealed the victory.
Next up is a sectional semifinal Thursday against Montini at Glenbard South. Kincanon said he will start once again to face the Broncos, which were the victim of his regional no-hitter last year.
"Hopefully my stuff will be as good as the last time I pitched at Glenbard South," Kincanon said, referring to a 13-strikeout performance against the Raiders on May 6.
RB 11, Elmwood Park 5
• Xander Catrambone: 4-for-5, 2B, RBI
• Will Kincanon: 2-for-3, RBI, 3 R, BB
• Justin Agne: 3-for-3, RBI, BB
RB 9, Clemente 1
• Kincanon: 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 H; 3-for-4, 2 2B
• Brian Kulaga: 2-for-3, HR, 4 RBI, R
• Catrambone: 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, R, BB