Riverside-Brookfield remains in hunt for MSC title

Kuta nearly tosses no-hitter against Elmwood Park

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By MARTY FARMER

In the win-loss ledger, the Riverside-Brookfield baseball team produced a mixed bag of results taking two of four games last week. Fortunately for the Metro Suburban Conference title-hunting Bulldogs, their two victories came against league foe Elmwood Park, keeping RB in the thick of the race, most notably with Illiana Christian.

The Bulldogs (12-8, 7-2 Metro Suburban Conference) won the critical rubber game against Elmwood Park with a 7-0 win last week. Starting pitcher Adam Kuta seriously flirted with a no-hitter, holding the Tigers hitless through 6 2/3 innings. The Tigers' Alex Nichol finally broke up Kuta's no-hit bid with a single to left field. Kuta (3-3, 2.49 ERA) settled for a one-hit gem complemented by 11 strikeouts. Andy Suzuki, Alex Spirios and Dylan Beketic had two hits apiece for RB.

The Bulldogs earned a 3-1 win over Elmwood Park in the series opener as junior pitcher Alex Nenadovic also tossed a one-hitter and didn't allow an earned run en route to running his record to a perfect 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA this spring. Tied at 1-1 in the fourth inning, Nenadovic helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly and Kevin Garvey added an RBI single to give RB a 3-1 advantage.

"I think we have a chance to win conference," Nenadovic said. "I know we're young and some people may doubt us. Once we get our hitting together, we should get rolling soon."

Elmwood Park secured its sole win over RB in a 2-1 decision on April 18 at Ehlert Park. Reflective of the entire week, the Bulldogs enjoyed another outstanding pitching effort this time courtesy of promising sophomore Will Kincanon. The rangy right-hander tossed a six-hitter with 14 punchouts by employing an effective mix of fastballs, curveballs and changeups. However, the Tigers took advantage of some costly RB mistakes to scratch out two unearned runs for the win.

"It was a tough loss but I threw all my pitches for strikes," Kincanon said. "I got some good work in. The keys for me are throwing strikes and locating the ball."

RB closed last week with a 3-2 loss at Wheaton North on Saturday. The Bulldogs struggled defensively against the well-regarded Falcons with four errors. Garvey was solid on the hill, throwing a complete-game, five-hitter. Kincanon, hitting .391 on the season, led the offense with pair of hits.

"We've lost some games we shouldn't have and we won some games we shouldn't have," RB coach Dallas Till said. "I think we've had some dominant pitching performances and our team ERA is under 3.0. We're just not generating enough offense consistently. We need to reach another level of baseball and we don't have much time to do it."

After traveling to Illiana Christian for two games this week, the series will shift to Ehlert Park for Friday's 4:30 p.m. finale.

"This is a huge series for both teams," Till said. "Hopefully, we can take at least 2 out of 3 games."

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