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If the Riverside-Brookfield baseball team captures the Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional championship this season, there's a good chance the No. 3 seed Bulldogs will have to knock out area rival/top sectional seed Nazareth to get the job done.
While other top sectional contenders like St. Joseph, Glenbard South, Montini and Clemente would beg to differ, Bulldogs-Roadrunners Part III would make for an intriguing championship game matchup.
"Nazareth is the favorite on paper," RB coach Dallas Till said. "Several teams are capable of going on a run and winning the sectional. Our goals this season include winning the regional and our first sectional in school history. Although we have a very young team, our guys should have these kinds of expectations, but nothing will be given to us."
Nazareth, which has already beaten the Bulldogs twice this season and in the playoffs last year, is loaded with talented players, including Dominic Purpura, Ryan Marske, Mike Stromberg, Ed Gengo, Jake Bartels and Kyle Piotrowski. Last spring, the Roadrunners finished 34-7 en route to a top four finish in state.
For Till and the Bulldogs though, their focus is solely centered on their postseason opener. RB (22-11) will likely advance to the regional title game to meet the winner of Clemente vs. Guerin on Saturday (11 a.m.) at Triton.
RB geared up for the postseason by sweeping Ridgewood in three games to close out Metro Suburban Conference competition last week. The Bulldogs worked overtime to bring out their brooms via a 4-3 victory over the Rebels in 14 innings. Alex Nenadovic (3-for-5, two RBIs) drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 14th to end the game in dramatic fashion for RB. Dylan Beketic also played well offensively, picking up two hits and two RBIs, while Adam Kuta (eight strikeouts) and Kevin Garvey (five strikeouts) did a solid job, collectively, on the mound.
The extra-innings thriller also marked the final home game for RB seniors Ryan Brown, Andy Suzuki, Jon Logli, Andrew Duran, Mark Musial, Joe Mulhern, Kuta and Beketic.
"Our seniors carried on a strong tradition and represented the program with pride," Till said. "All of them have shown a great deal of dedication to RB baseball."
On May 16, the Bulldogs edged Ridgewood 2-1 behind a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Will Kincanon, who tossed a three-hitter in a complete game win. Jack Scott and Alex Spirios cracked consecutive doubles to chase home two runs for RB in the second inning. Junior C.J. Duffek added three hits and two stolen bases.
In the series opener, RB rallied from a 3-1 deficit with six runs on six hits in the fifth inning to earn a 7-4 victory.