It’s make or break time for the Riverside Brookfield baseball team.
Because of bad weather last week, the Bulldogs (7-11 overall, 3-2 Metro Suburban League) managed to play only one game against Proviso West, making this week’s three-game set against first-place Elmwood Park crucial. Currently, Elmwood Park is tops in the league with a 4-1 record, so claiming two out of three or a sweep would undoubtedly turn things around for RB. With both ballclubs matching up on defense, offensive output is the X-factor for RB coach Dan Monahan.
“They (Elmwood) get two home games out of the three, but I think we are pretty comfortable playing there,” he said. “Really, the series will come down to bats and which team is disciplined enough to win. I think it will be good series, I just hope our guys rise to the occasion.”
Ideally, Monahan would like a repeat performance of the Proviso West game, when junior hurler Kyle Porter threw a five-inning perfect game, including 10 strikeouts, en route to a 15-0 RB win. Porter’s stellar outing followed senior ace Tim LeBeau’s no-hitter against Ridgewood on April 21. LeBeau was set to start Game 1 of the Elmwood Park series Tuesday (after deadline), but it is good to have Porter waiting in the wings, according to Monahan.
“Porter is a real go-getter and he is always ready to get in the game, weather pinch running or doing some relief pitching,” Monahan said. “We are trying to see where we can slide him in the rotation, but it’s nice to have him in bullpen role.”
Because the Bulldogs missed their games against Evergreen Park and Argo, Monahan is concerned his team may be a little rusty, but he will have little time for debate. After Elmwood, the Bulldogs must quickly regroup and play a doubleheader against Fenton-another important league match up.
Overall RB is hitting .292, while the team ERA is 3.80, but those stats don’t mean anything if they don’t translate into wins, Monahan said.
“We have five conference games this week, so we need to take control of our destiny,” Monahan said. “We have a playoff seeding meeting on Wednesday and it would be ideal if we had posted two wins against Elmwood by that point. But while we have to focus on Elmwood, Fenton is lurking around the corner. If we win out against Fenton, they are out of picture. But if we only lose we have to change our strategy. There are all kind of scenarios, but if we win it keeps things pretty simple.”