New venue for Catholic League finals

Baseball teams to settle championship at Jimmy John’s Field

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published May 15, 2017

For years, Comerica Park and the Detroit skyline served as the home for the Catholic High School League baseball finals.

On May 11, Comerica was once again rocking with high school baseball, only this time around it was the Catholic League’s semifinal action.

And now the finals are set for May 24 at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

“It’s always nice to play in Comerica, and this was pretty cool to have a few more teams involved,” Birmingham Brother Rice coach Bob Riker said. “We’re also looking forward to the new venue. Playing in a park like that is always something enjoyable for the kids.”

A new venue, but for Rice, May 24 will be a chance at a very familiar prize.

After defeating Dearborn Divine Child 11-7 in the semifinals, the Warriors will face Novi Detroit Catholic Central with a chance at a sixth Catholic League A-B Division title in a row.

“You really can’t think about that too much,” Riker said of the previous five titles. “It’s not these guys going for a sixth as much as it is the program. I mean, we have some seniors who have a chance for four now, but we’re trying to focus on just one game with this group.”

Rice faces the Shamrocks at 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors (21-6 overall) have won all four meetings with Catholic Central this spring.

“What you have to do is focus on the pitching,” Riker said. “If we’re able to throw strikes and not walk guys, it’s a big plus. Defensively, we have to make the routine plays while we put the ball in play and pressure their defense.”

Riker said that’s been the key to success in all four wins this year.

Catholic Central defeated Warren De La Salle in the other semifinal.

As for taking part in a mini playoff right before the state postseason launches, Riker said there’s a lot to like.

“Absolutely,” he added, as the state playoffs begin May 30. “It keeps the team on their toes. Not being in this type of tournament, you’d have that long break before the state finals get going. This gets us going and keeps us ready.”

C-D Division final
Before Rice and Catholic Central battle, Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard will settle the score in a 5 p.m. C-D Division title game.

Foley beat Riverview Gabriel Richard 3-1 in its semifinal, and Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard beat Royal Oak Shrine 4-0.

Foley is looking for its fifth title in six years.