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Tough loss closes RB baseball season

Riverside Brookfield's Kevin Fitzgerald (left) applies the tag to Montini's Jake Pestel at second base during Thursday's sectional semifinal game. Errors hurt the Bulldogs in a 4-2 loss.
Riverside Brookfield's Kevin Fitzgerald (left) applies the tag to Montini's Jake Pestel at second base during Thursday's sectional semifinal game. Errors hurt the Bulldogs in a 4-2 loss.

GLEN ELLYN – This was not the ideal way for Will Kincanon's Riverside Brookfield career to end.

Any loss is a hard way to end, but Kincanon's final start on the mound for the Bulldogs was plagued by five errors in a game RB had plenty of opportunities to win.

Montini beat RB 4-2 in a sectional semifinal Thursday at Glenbard South. It marks the second year in a row the Bulldogs have been knocked out in that round.

"It's unfortunate because he pitched well enough to win," RB coach Dallas Till said of Kincanon. "I thought the two runs was going to be enough."

RB led 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth when two errors and a balk led to the tying for Montini. Montini then took advantage of two more errors in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Jake Mencacci hit a two-out triple to score Eddie Bava, who reached on an error to lead off the inning, and Mencacci later scored on another error.

RB left two runners on in the fifth and sixth innings before Mencacci's big triple.

"This is what happens in baseball, it's part of the game," Kincanon said. "I tried to pitch around it and I couldn't do it. I gave up a big hit when I had a chance to get out of it even though there was an error."

Kincanon was a standout two-way player who carried the Bulldogs this season and is expected to be named all-state for the second straight year. He finished the year with a 1.00 ERA and a whopping 118 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. Offensively, Kincanon hit .486 and in the three postseason games was 6-for-10 with three doubles and two walks.

For his three-year career Kincanon totaled 26 wins on the mound and 302 strikeouts while hitting .426.

"He had a great career, but we got to make the plays behind him," Till said. "I think we overachieved with this team. Will does not make a team. He carried us in a lot of ways, but at the same time I think we overachieved in terms of regionals and accomplishments."

The Bulldogs struggled early in the year with a team that returned just three varsity regulars. However, RB won eight of its final 10 games, including the upset win over a talented Clemente team in a regional final and finished the year 23-12.

"We were kind of on borrowed time," Till said referring to the upset against Clemente. "I knew with [Kincanon] on the mound we had a shot. Kulaga came up with a big hit and gave us a lead. I was really hoping that was enough. It probably should have been."

Justin Agne, Jimmy Doherty and Xander Catrambone were senior regulars in the lineup and leave the program as well.

The Bulldogs return Connor Berek, who had a 2.23 ERA and hit .384, shortstop Kevin Fitzgerald, first baseman Jake Surprenant and pitcher Nico Ranieri along with a sophomore team that went 25-3 and was undefeated in the Metro Suburban Conference.

Still, the lasting part of this team will be Kincanon, who will go down as one of the best RB players ever.

"It's been great," Kincanon said. "Getting coached by coach Till and coach Ruge, they've been great to me. They've done everything they can for me to help me and I'm not going to forget it. It's fun times. I've enjoyed every minute of it so I'm going to miss it."

Sectional semifinal

Montini 4, RB 2

• Will Kincanon: 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 4 H; 1-for-3, 2B, BB, R

• Jimmy Doherty: 1-for-3, BB, SB

• Brian Kulaga: 2-for-3, RBI

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