The Riverside Brookfield baseball team is down, but the Bulldogs are definitely not out.
At least RB coach Dan Monahan thinks his team is not done. One thing is certain; RB will not be Metro Suburban League champions. The Bulldogs (8-15 overall, 4-6) hopes of claiming a championship disappeared after losing a three game series with Elmwood Park last week. RB fell 2-1 in Game 1, 8-4 in Game 2 and 8-1 in the rubber game. The Bulldogs put up the biggest fight in the opener, thanks to senior pitcher Tim Lebeau (2-5, 2.05 ERA). Defensive miscues, however, were the Bulldogs’ undoing. The team drew first blood in the second inning, thanks to an Elmwood Park error. Elmwood Park, however, answered with two unearned runs in the fifth for the win. Despite the losses, Monahan felt his team battled.
“We really did not play badly in any of the games; they are just a good baseball team,” he said. “I thought Lebeau pitched great in the first game, [but] we just couldn’t get him any run support. The next two games were a similar story-they just played better than we did.”
RB, however, ended the rough week on a high note, splitting a doubleheader with Fenton. The Bulldogs fell 6-1 in the first frame, but rolled to a 6-2 victory in the second. Against Fenton, RB finally received the timely hitting that had eluded them against Elmwood Park. Junior Scott Osalka went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs, and first-year varsity player Hank Sitkiewicz went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Pitcher Tyler Gasaway yielded just three hits and struck out four en route to the win.
“I think the win against Fenton really helped our confidence because it was a team win,” Monahan said. “Osalka had a big day at the plate and Sitkiewicz really turned in a great game. This is Sitkiewicz’ first year on varsity and everyone has been really impressed with his work ethic. Also, it was really nice to see Gasaway get the win after doing such a good job as a relief pitcher-it was a great win.”
Now that the RB’s dreams of a conference championship have been snuffed out, Monahan is focused on finishing the regular season strong and preparing for St. Joe’s in the Lyons Township Sectional. The Bulldogs are the eighth seed, while St. Joe’s is seeded ninth.
“Actually, we play St. Joe’s in a couple weeks as part of our regular season schedule, so we will get to take a look at them then,” Monahan said. “We still have 10 or 11 games left, so a lot can happen. We could get on a hot streak and work toward .500. I think we have a lot of potential; it is just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”