The list of college baseball programs interested in Riverside-Brookfield High School pitcher Will Kincanon is growing faster than the right-hander’s pitching repertoire, which includes a two-seam fastball, curveball and changeup (all pegged as plus pitches).
For the schools that have been “Good Will Hunting” (pardon the pun) the talented junior, teammate Matt Quintana’s scouting report is perhaps the perfect compendium regarding Kincanon’s considerable ability and upside.
“Will sets the tone for our entire pitching staff,” Quintana said. “He’s a great ballplayer and all-around athlete. He’s going places.”
“Places” that hope to ultimately land the services of the 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior include Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Creighton, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina and Middle Tennessee.
Until Kincanon makes his decision, the Bulldogs’ ace will keep his suitors guessing almost as much as the countless batters he’s mowed down in dominant fashion this season. Kincanon is 9-0 with a 0.58 ERA and has 86 strikeouts with only 15 walks over 50-plus innings of work.
He’s also a formidable presence in the heart of the Bulldogs’ batting order, hitting .419 with three home runs and 32 RBI. Kincanon also recently earned the Metro Suburban Conference Player of the Year award.
“I want to play Division I college baseball,” Kincanon said. “My goal is to the best player I can be. I love playing baseball and can’t wait to get to the ballpark. I never want a day off.”
The short-term focus for Kincanon and his teammates is carrying the momentum of their dream season deep into the playoffs. The Bulldogs (29-4-1) won the Metro Suburban Conference with a 16-2 record.
The regional host Bulldogs take on the winner of VOISE Academy vs. Prosser at 4:30 p.m. in Thursday’s semifinals at Jaycee/Ehlert Park in Brookfield. Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional title game will likely pit RBHS against Montini.
“The team’s performance has exceeded my expectations,” Kincanon said. “We have [29 wins] now and I believe we can pick up some more in the playoffs.”
Regardless of their postseason results, the Bulldogs will need to replenish their roster due to the losses of Northwest Missouri State-bound star C.J. Duffek (school-record 43 stolen bases) and other key seniors in Kevin Garvey, Alex Nenadovic, Tom Leary, Luke Keller, Alex Spirios and Joe Duffy.
On the bright side, coach Dallas Till can drop anchor with Kincanon knowing he has a humble, hard-working star to lead RBHS. Promising junior catcher Justin Agne also returns to comprise a very solid battery.
“Obviously, having Will back next season is great,” Till said. “Will is a team-first guy. I like the fact he’s kind of old-school, too, always checking box scores and talking baseball.”
At the plate, Kincanon resembles former San Francisco Giants first baseman Will “the Thrill” Clark a bit; however, “Thrill 2.0” figures to make his way in baseball off the mound.
Kincanon, who will travel with the Top Tier 17U baseball team this summer, knows there is work to be done regarding his game. The Riverside resident throws his fastball in the 83 to 87 mph range
“I need to work on my mechanics,” he said. “I think that’s been keeping my velocity down a little bit. Once I improve my mechanics, my arm should really power up.
“Pitching is about being aggressive and getting ahead in the count. Strike one is the most important pitch in baseball.”
Aside from baseball, Kincanon is a talented basketball player who along with Jack VandeMerkt will spearhead a tall, athletic frontline for RBHS hoops coach Tom McCloskey next season.
Eric Loury, a teammate of Kincanon’s in both basketball and baseball, praised the way Kincanon faced adversity this year.
“When Will came back from his [basketball] injury, he came back with a positive attitude, knew his role and bounced back well,” Loury said. “In baseball, he’s just been throwing fire all season.”
Outside of the athletic lines, Kincanon enjoys the overall experience of attending RBHS. He cites history class with teacher Mark Gouwens as his favorite.
Kincanon’s older brother, Jack, was a pitcher at RBHS and his sister, Emily, is studying education at Dominican University. His parents, Bill and Antonia, are both Oak Park and River Forest High School grads who work at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Kincanon’s favorite memory with the RBHS baseball team involved a particularly rough day for first base coach, Mark Ruge, at Wheaton North last season.
“Coach Ruge got hit by a line drive and we had to carry him off the field,” Kincanon said with a laugh. “We laid him down in a corner of the dugout where you couldn’t hit him even if you threw a ball in there.
“Later in the game, a ball ricochets into the dugout and, of course, hits Ruge in the chest. He just groaned out loud. That was a funny moment I’ll never forget.”