Pitching, timely offense carry Brother Rice baseball team to fourth consecutive Catholic League title

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 15, 2015

 Freshman Reese Trahey rips into a pitch during Friday's Catholic League final at Comerica Park. Rice picked up a 5-1 victory against Divine Child.

Freshman Reese Trahey rips into a pitch during Friday's Catholic League final at Comerica Park. Rice picked up a 5-1 victory against Divine Child.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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DETROIT — It may seem like it, especially recently, but as Bob Riker spoke with his Birmingham Brother Rice baseball team prior to the Catholic League semifinals last weekend, he stressed the unique opportunity sitting directly in front of his guys and just how infrequently chances like this come in a career.

He pleaded with them to embrace it, to make the most of it.

On Friday afternoon at Comerica Park, the Warriors answered their skipper’s challenge.

For the fourth time in as many seasons, Rice sits atop the Catholic League, scoring five times in the top of the third inning to earn a 5-1 victory against Divine Child in the A-B Division championship.

“It never gets old. You always want to come down to this park,” Riker said. “I mean, every year is a new year. Every year is a new group of guys, and there’s a lot of guys on this club who've never been down here. It’s great for them to get a memory they will never forget.”

Junior Karl Kauffmann was nearly unhittable in the first two innings, retiring the first six batters he faced, four of them by strikeout.

The big inning was the third for Rice, and it all started with an infield single by John Garry.

He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Davis Feldman.

After Robert Iacobelli struck out swinging, the fun began.

Nick Plummer singled to score Garry and give Rice a 1-0 lead.

After a Divine Child error and a walk by Steven Ring, Kauffmann helped his own cause, scoring two on a single for a 3-0 advantage.

Preston Pilot then tripled, scoring Ring and Kauffmann to make it 5-0.

Divine Child responded with a run in the bottom of the third, but Kauffmann took over from there, pitching six total innings while striking out nine.

“Throwing first-strike pitches is huge,” Riker said of Kaufmann. “It takes the pressure off. He looked good. “

“This is pretty cool,” Kauffmann said. “I was spotting my fastball. I was throwing it inside, and I was able to get my curveball over for strikes.”

Mitchell Tyranski pitched a perfect seventh.

“We threw 64 pitches today, with two pitchers,” Riker said. “You throw 64 pitches, you’re not walking guys and putting guys on base, you’re going to win a lot games.”

Garry and Plummer end their Catholic League careers a perfect 4-0 in championship games.

“That’s kind of special,” Riker said of his two seniors.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s awesome,” Garry said. “It’s really hard to believe. I think, as a freshman, you’re part of a great team, and you kind of take it for granted. But this never gets old. I love this place. There’s something right about this park when we play here.”

Rice improves to 23-8 with the victory.

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