Rice and Bishop Foley baseball teams have shot at fourth straight titles

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published May 11, 2015


Years have come and gone; teams have changed.

But over the past three seasons, there’s been a consistency with baseball champions when it comes to the Catholic League finals.

That streak could run to four on Friday.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Birmingham Brother Rice each have a chance to claim their fourth consecutive league title when the teams head to Comerica Park for the annual championship games.

“This isn’t something that comes easy,” Rice coach Bob Riker said. “I’m pretty sure nobody has ever won four in a row. We have a great chance to go there, play in that park and make the most of it. … So much changes every year. I don’t see us as the defending champ. This is a such a new team.”

But one that’s put the program in a very familiar situation.

The Warriors (21-7) earned a spot in the May 15 A-B Division final — set for 12:30 p.m. against Dearborn Divine Child — after cruising past Warren De La Salle 8-2 in a May 8 semifinal at Madonna University.

“It was huge to get up on them early,” Riker said of his team, which led De La Salle 7-0 by the end of the second inning. “They had two guys on in the first and didn’t score. We came back and scored and took the pressure off. It was a good game for us.”

Rice now takes on a team that it beat three times in four meetings this spring.

“It starts with pitching,” Riker said. “If we throw strikes and don’t put guys on, we’ll have a great chance to win.”

Karl Kauffmann, who needed just 46 pitches to get through five scoreless innings against De La Salle, will get the start against Divine Child.

“The other key is a good start,” Riker added. “If we can get off to a good start, get an early run, that will be huge.”

In the C-D Division, Bishop Foley (17-3) earned a chance at a fourth consecutive title by beating Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 7-0.

The Ventures now face Riverview Gabriel Richard in the 10 a.m. final.

“Really good team effort,” coach Justin Robinson said of the win. “We did just about everything right. We ran the bases; we hit at the right time. We played great defense and had a great effort.”

Justin Campbell (8-1) went the distance on the mound for Foley, allowing eight hits with five strikeouts.

“The same thing we did in this one, we have to do again,” Robinson said of the final. Foley and Riverview Gabriel Richard have not played this season. “Our guys came to play (in the semifinal). They wanted Comerica. Now we have it. We have to go out and make the most of it.”

Foley, winner of the past three C-D Division titles, is in the championship game for the sixth consecutive season.

“I’m excited,” said Robinson, a first-year skipper. “I usually don’t get nervous for games, but I was nervous (in the semifinal). This is a big thing for us. It’s a big thing for our guys. It’s a big thing for our school.”