With one swing of the bat, Montini first baseman Jake Mencacci accomplished quite a bit Thursday afternoon.
The swing came on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 2-2 tie against Riverside-Brookfield and Division I pitcher Will Kincanon. The swing resulted in a two-out triple to deep right field that drove in the eventual game-winning run in the Broncos' 4-2 victory. The win sends Montini to its first sectional final in some time. The team will return to Glenbard South at 1 p.m. Saturday to take on Fenwick.
Mencacci's big hit was more than just clutch, it was more hits than Montini's entire team delivered against Kincanon in last year's postseason, when the Bulldogs right-hander tossed a no-hitter at the Broncos.
"Kincanon's a great pitcher," Mencacci said of the Middle Tennessee State recruit. "The game plan was a two-strike approach the entire game, choking up and just trying to make contact."
In the sixth inning which was kept alive by a pair of Bulldogs errors, the Broncos senior made very good contact.
"He got a curveball up there and I closed my eyes and hit it as hard as I could," Mencacci said. (Then I) put my head down and ran as fast as I could."
Mencacci just did get in under the tag at third. Then he came around and scored a big insurance run when R-B committed its fifth error of the game.
"We knew coming in we just had to put the ball in play and see what happens," Mencacci said. "They were big errors and it got us going. That was one of the best games I was ever a part of, if not the best. It was really fun."
The Broncos (23-9) sored a run in the second on a hit batter, a balk and Pat Hennessy's two-out single, then tallied an unearned run in the fourth. Three of the four runs scored were unearned off Kincanon, the school's all-time leader in wins and strikeouts.
Montini starter Tyler Quick kept his team in the game with 5⅓ solid innings and left with two on and one out in the sixth with the score tied 2-2. Reliever Sean Frontzak came in and struck out two batters to end the threat, then earned the win after his team went ahead 4-2 and he blanked the Bulldogs in the seventh.
"I kinda like pressure," said the junior pitcher, who is used to starting but improved to 9-2 on the spring with Thursday's relief win. "Deep breaths … all the fans are out. … My coaches were talking about it all week to be ready."
Montini coach Bob Landi was impressed yet again with Kincanon, but he too likes the arms on his squad.
"They no-no-ed us. That pitcher no-hit us last year," he said. "We knew all year long that this was going to be the kid we faced when we got to the sectional. He's a great pitcher. He'll have a very successful college career and maybe beyond."
But Quick and Frontzak weren't too shabby on the hill either.
"Our starter, Tyler, did a real nice job," Landi said. "We've got three kids, Tyler Quick, Sean Frontzak and Eric Fronzak, his brother, who started in right field … those three pitchers' ERAs are all below 2.00. I don't remember having a team at this level in my history that had three pitchers of that magnitude."
Speaking of history, the Broncos are off to their first sectional final in Landi's six years as coach.