Playing in incredibly windy conditions at Jaycee Ehlert Park on Saturday, the Riverside-Brookfield High School baseball team took full advantage of the hitting-friendly conditions. Fueled by an 11-run first inning, the Bulldogs outslugged Guerin 22-9 in a nonconference meeting.
Trailing 11-0 after a half inning, the visiting Gators responded with seven runs to whittle the deficit to 11-7. RBHS center fielder Greg Catrambone kept the pressure on Guerin though with a two-RBI double in the second inning, scoring Nico Ranieri and Matt Gara and paving the way for six more runs in the inning and a 19-7 lead.
Senior Will Kincanon went 3-for-3 with six RBIs and four runs scored, while Gara was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Winning pitcher Jack Hayes worked two innings and gave up six earned runs on six hits on an obviously difficult day to pitch.
“The run support definitely helped,” Hayes said. “I was really pleased with the production we had offensively. I knew coming into this game that I had to throw strikes.”
RBHS (7-3) tacked on three runs in the third inning, highlighted by catcher Justin Agne’s RBI single which scored Dominic Gabino and Kincanon. Agne also crossed home plate on a fielder’s choice for the Bulldogs’ final run.
“We came out aggressive and ready to hit,” Kincanon said. “We saw the ball really well and got into really good counts. It’s not often that you can put 20 runs on the board so it was great.”
Every RBHS player played a role in Saturday’s victory, including three relief pitchers. Ranieri along with seniors Sam Smith and David Sauer each turned in an inning of solid work to support Hayes.
“It was great to get every guy on our team some playing time today,” RBHS coach Dallas Till said. “All of our pitchers battled hard. It was good to get everybody some work, With conference play coming up next week, we’re just trying to hit our stride right before that point.”
The Gators had to forfeit Game 2 of the scheduled doubleheader because they had no available pitchers to take the bump, providing RBHS a 7-0 victory to complete the sweep.
Saturday’s sweep certainly came at an opportune time for the Bulldogs, who lost 3-2 to Shepard on Friday despite a solid outing by junior pitcher Connor Berek.
“[Friday’s loss] was tough, but Connor pitched a great game,” Kincanon said. “Good teams bounce back and we definitely came out ready to play today against Guerin, which beat Nazareth [Friday]. This was a big win for us.”