Two steps forward, two steps back.
So far this season the Riverside Brookfield baseball team’s inconsistency has been a common theme for head coach Dan Monahan. Indeed, the Bulldogs (6-11 overall, 3-2 Metro Suburban League) had another roller-coaster week, winning the first two games of their opening conference series with Fenton, 12-4, 7-2, only to lose 10-6 on Thursday. The Bulldogs then fell 5-3 to Morton and split a doubleheader with Ridgewood, 11-1, 6-7 on Saturday.
“We get some great individual performances from game to game, but we are not consistent as a team,” Monahan said. “We began last week with two great wins, but then we seem to get complacent and we lost. When we show up with the right intensity we are tough to beat but when our heads are not in the game we really struggle.”
In the third game against Fenton, the Bulldogs were up 5-1 after five innings, but could not put the game away, which proved pivotal. Fenton scratched back in the sixth inning, scoring nine runs to prevent the sweep. It was the same story against Morton. The Bulldogs led for most of the game, only to see Morton mount a comeback and steal the victory. Against Ridgewood, senior pitcher Tim LeBeau once again sparkled, throwing a no hitter while the RB bats plated 11 runners for an 11-1 victory. But, the Bulldogs faltered in the second frame much to Monahan’s chagrin.
“We beat Ridgewood handily in the first game,” he said. “Then we take a break in between games and we lost our focus. We were four innings into the second game and down 5-0 before we woke up and started playing but by then it was too late.”
According to Monahan the solution is simple-it is a question of patching everything together. The one-two pitching punch of LeBeau and John Kleinmeyer has been solid and a recently healthy leadoff hitter Kyle Kiburz has added a much-needed spark to the Bulldog lineup. Pat Cullen has also excelled in the number three spot in the batting order and junior second baseman Scott Olsowka has also began to find his swing. The Bulldogs will have a chance to regroup this week, facing all non-conference competition, but that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t on.
“We are excited to play Morton again because it is crucial we build our reputation outside the conference,” Monahan said. “We play Proviso, Argo and Evergreen Park and we need to win against all of them. We are halfway through the season but that is still time to get a winning record, win the conference and do well in the postseason. We just have to get ready to play every time we step between the lines.”