Bloomfield Hills, BirminghamMay 24, 2012
Brother Rice continues to roll, claims Catholic League A-B Division title
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
DETROIT — The season started with three main goals.
Having already won the Catholic League’s Central Division regular-season title, the Birmingham Brother Rice baseball team officially checked off the second May 24 at Comerica Park.
Playing in the Catholic League final for the first time in two years, Rice used some timely hitting and dominant pitching to outlast the University of Detroit Jesuit 6-0 in the A-B Division title game.
“I’m so happy for the kids,” coach Bob Riker said afterward. The win marked Rice’s third title since 2007. “For most of them, this was the first time down here in a game and environment like this. It’s something they will never forget.”
Rice broke an early scoreless tie with a big third inning.
Freshman Alex Malone kick started the frame with a double, later reached third on a bunt, narrowly beating out a throw, and scored on a Mike Cyrocki groundout.
Two batters later, sophomore Randy Righter ripped a two-out, two-RBI double, giving Rice a 3-0 lead.
The Warriors never looked back, and pitcher Matt Ruppenthal never gave the Cubs much of a chance.
The right-handed sophomore was simply electric on the mound, commanding his pitches and fooling hitters from the first inning on.
He went the distance for Rice, needing just 64 pitchers to do so, struck out 12 and walked just one while allowing only two hits.
“He pounded the strike zone tonight,” Riker said smiling.
“This was a ton of fun,” Ruppenthal boasted. “I’ve never been in a setting like this. … I felt like I was able to pound the zone with my best pitches. I threw strikes, and the guys backed me up.”
After scoring three in the third, Rice added two more runs in the fifth on a two-RBI double by sophomore Bobby Cross, and then added the final run on an RBI single by sophomore Sammy Stevens in the sixth.
“This is huge,” Riker added. “It’s always cool to accomplish one of your goals and win a championship.”
Rice, now 26-7, will aim for its third goal May 29 when the state playoffs start against West Bloomfield High at 4:30 p.m. at Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup.
U of D, which was playing for its first ever Catholic League title, drops to 18-13 with the loss.