Jake Mencacci and his Montini teammates hadn’t forgotten how they were no-hit by Riverside-Brookfield’s Will Kincanon in a regional championship game last year.
The Broncos exacted their revenge on Thursday, eliminating R-B with a 4-2 victory in a Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional semifinal.
Second-seeded Montini (23-9) will be seeking its first sectional title since 2005 when it takes on No. 7 seed Fenwick (24-10) in Saturday’s title game.
“They knocked us out last year so it was really nice to get a couple of hits and a win,” Mencacci said. “It was a great game to be a part of.”
Mencacci, a St. Mary’s [MN] recruit, delivered the big blow when he belted a 3-2 pitch for a run-scoring triple with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie. He later scored on an infield single by Pat Hennessy.
“Kincanon is a great pitcher,” Mencacci said. “[My] game plan was two-strike approach the entire game, choking up just trying to make contact.
“He got a curveball up there and I closed my eyes and hit it as hard as I could, put my head down and ran as fast as possible.”
Kincanon (9-3) gave up only three hits and a walk and struck out six.
Mencacci’s blow was one of just five balls to leave the infield.
“I hung a curve ball,” Kincanon said. “I threw two fastballs and he fouled them back so I thought maybe I’d sneak a curveball and he’d take it. But I hung it and he was all over it. Credit to him, he hit the ball hard.”
Kincanon deserved a better fate but was done in by terrible infield defense. The Bulldogs (23-12) committed six errors and all four infielders made at least one, leading to all of Montini’s runs.
The decisive sixth inning began with Eddie Bava reaching on a throwing error. After Mencacci drove him in, Kincanon should have been out of the inning another error led to Hennessy’s hit.
The Broncos had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Tom Long was hit by a pitch and scored two outs later on an error.
R-B took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth as Kincanon doubled and scored on a single by Justin Agne and Brian Kulaga’s two-out single plated courtesy runner Max Duve.
But Montini tied it in the bottom of the inning on two more errors and a balk.
Kincanon was frustrated by the miscues but wouldn’t pass blame for the loss.
“It’s my fault,” Kincanon said. “[The errors are] part of the game.
“Obviously, I tried to pitch around it. I couldn’t do it and gave up a big hit when I had a chance to get out of it even though there was an error.”
But R-B coach Dallas Till had nothing but good things to say about his ace.
“He’s a Division I pitcher and he showed it today,” Till said. “He threw a helluva game, he just didn’t win. You’ve got to make the plays behind him and we needed to generate some more offense.”
The Bulldogs had a chance to in the top of the sixth when Kevin Fitzgerald and Brian Kulaga singled with one out against Montini starter Tyler Quick. But junior Sean Frontzak (9-2) made just his third relief appearance of the year and struck out the next two hitters to preserve the tie, then retired the side in order in the seventh after yielding an infield single to Gregory Catrambone.