Featuring a stable of strong arms, including right-handers Will Kincanon, Alex Nenadovic, Kevin Garvey and Luke Keller along with lefty Matt Quintana, the Riverside-Brookfield baseball team appears all set in the crucial pitching department.
The Bulldogs also should field a fairly solid defensive club, and improved situational hitting and simply scoring more runs probably hold the keys to another successful season.
“We need to hit better this season and generate run production,” said RB coach Dallas Till, who guided the Bulldogs to a 2011 regional title. “We’re a senior-laden team which will lean on a veteran pitching staff and solid defense. Our focus is to compete for conference and regional championships and hopefully have a deep postseason run.”
So far, so good for RB which is off to a 3-1 start on the spring. Nenadovic and Garvey both recorded wins in the Bulldogs’ 17-6, 8-6 doubleheader sweep of host St. Francis on Saturday.
The 6-foot-3 Kincanon, who went 8-3 with a 1.47 ERA last season, will play a huge role in fulfilling the Bulldogs’ promising fortunes this spring. Last week the junior struck out nine batters en route to an 8-4 victory over host Morton. RB scored four runs early and tacked on two more runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings in support of Kincanon (1-0), who allowed four runs over six innings of work.
RB dropped its season opener to Reavis 5-4.
Complementing Kincanon in the rotation is Nenadovic (9-1, 2.31 ERA), another excellent right-hander coming off a superb junior campaign.
Offensively, All-Metro Suburban Conference player C.J. Duffek (48 hits, 16 RBIs, 24 stolen bases in 2012) leads the charge. The senior outfielder has signed to play at Northwest Missouri State next season. Catcher Alex Spirios, senior first baseman Tom Leary and Joe Duffy along with the live bats of Kincanon (first baseman) and Garvey (third baseman) also will be called on for offensive production. Garvey and Nenadovic knocked in 21 runs apiece last spring while Kincanon had 16 RBIs.
Till cited defending champion Glenbard South as the preseason Metro Suburban Conference favorite, but RB should be in the thick of the league race.
“I think we can run conference [next season],” Kincanon said after last year’s 4-0 regional final loss to Clemente. “I don’t think we should lose. We have a bunch of players who gained valuable experience so we’re set for .”
With the exception of some key losses like Andy Suzuki and Dylan Beketic to graduation, Kincanon’s assessment is in point. The Bulldogs return the bulk of a talented team, which finished 23-14 overall and 14-4 in conference (Metro Suburban runner-up) in 2012.