It’s been a cold, hard spring for the Riverside Brookfield baseball team.
The Bulldogs (3-8 overall, 0-0 Metro Suburban Conference) have struggled against the weather, the competition and above all else, themselves, making the first 11 games of the young season a hard road for RB coach Dan Monahan. Of the seven games RB was scheduled to play last week, three were cancelled, followed by losses in the other four.
Most recently, RB fell 2-0 to Glenbard South, playing just one game of the scheduled double-header due to the weather. Though limiting Glenbard to just two runs, senior Bulldog pitcher Tyler Gasaway received the loss. The Bulldogs also fell 9-4 to Shepard last Friday and both frames of a doubleheader to Nazareth on April 9th (9-4 and 13-3). In all four losses, the RB offense failed to catch fire, leaving Monahan scratching his head and looking for answers.
Still, the baseball gods are fickle and it’s never too late to turn things around. To start the season, the RB lineup suffered its share of injuries, with leadoff hitter Kyle Kiburz out with a sprained ankle and Marty Belchek out with a broken wrist. Now that both talented juniors are rejoining the lineup, the Bulldogs might find a winning formula, according to Monahan.
“We have tried several other guys in the leadoff spot and it just hasn’t worked out,” he said. “Hopefully, Kyle (Kiburz) can be the offensive spark we have been looking for. In the first game against Nazareth I just don’t think we came out excited to play baseball and we cannot let that happen again. The cold weather conditions shouldn’t matter because both teams had to play in it. The one bright spot was good relief pitching from Gasaway, which give us something to build on, but we need to work on many other facets of the game if we expect to win.”
While the Bulldogs have struggled against non-conference competition, they have the chance to start fresh this week. The team began conference play yesterday (after deadline) with a three-game set against Fenton. The Bulldogs will need their pitching core of Tim Labeau, Mike Poloso and Johnny Kleinmeyer to lead the way if the Bulldogs hope to reverse their fortunes. Most importantly, the Bulldogs must be consistent if they have any hope of turning things around, according to Monahan.
“The few wins we’ve had, it’s because we’ve gotten on the same page as a team on both sides of the ball,” he said. “It’s been hit or miss offensively for us so far this season and that will not help our cause in the conference. We have to trick ourselves a bit this week and tell ourselves we are starting anew. Hopefully, we can regroup and get the job done.”