Rice sweeps St. Mary’s

Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice sweeps baseball doubleheader with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

 By Jake Thielen | MLive.com
on April 02, 2014 9:29 p.m.
  • 04/02 – 4:00 PM Baseball Final
    Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
    Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice

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The Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice High School baseball team improved to 4-0 on the season in the Catholic League Central Division thanks to a pair of wins Wednesday afternoon over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at Warrior Field in Troy.

Brother Rice (4-1-1, 4-0 CHSL Central) edged St. Mary’s in the opener, 6-3, before shutting out the Eaglets by an 8-0 margin in the second game.

In the first game, the Warriors fell behind 1-0 thanks to an RBI double from St. Mary’s Devin Rose. However, the Eaglets’ lead was short-lived as Brother Rice answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on consecutive RBI singles from seniors Bobby Cross and Sammy Stephens and junior Davis Feldman.

Brother Rice sophomore Karl Kauffmann throws a pitch during Wednesday’s 8-0 over St. Mary’s(Jake Thielen | MLive.com)

A RBI single in the second inning from junior Nick Plummer gave the Warriors a 4-1 lead that proved to be enough for Brother Rice and senior pitcher Randy Righter.

The Eaglets staged a rally in the sixth inning, scoring twice on a solo home run from Rose and fielder’s choice groundout by senior Jimmy Marx. Despite having a runner on third, St. Mary’s could not plate the tying run as Righter struck out the next batter to end the threat.

Brother Rice added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, the first by junior Josh Tanksley who scored from second base on a sacrifice bunt. Three batters later, senior Ty Kiafoulis added an RBI single to put Brother Rice up 6-3.

Senior Tommy Lentz pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the save. Righter finished with nine strikeouts in the win.

The second game proved to be more lopsided as Brother Rice cruised to an 8-0 victory.

Brother Rice’s Randy Righter is congratulated by coach Bob Riker after hitting a grand slam.(Jake Thielen | MLive.com)

Sophomore Karl Kauffmann was dominant on the mound, allowing just one hit and striking out 11 Eaglets in just four innings. Lentz entered the game in the fifth inning and threw three scoreless innings, striking out five more batters in the process.

Brother Rice coach Bob Riker said he expects good outings like he got Wednesday from his team’s talented pitching staff.

“Karl dominated – he had good command of the zone, he had good command of his breaking pitch, he was ahead all day and they weren’t taking real good swings on him,” Riker said. “Tommy (Lentz) did a good job of coming in for him. It’s nice to have a guy like Karl, it’s nice to have a guy like Tommy and to start off a doubleheader with a guy like Randy – that’s really good too.”

The Warrior offense found its groove in the fifth inning, turning what had been a 2-0 game into a rout. The five-run inning was capped by a grand slam to center field by Righter, who finished the game 2-3 with four RBI.

Riker said Righter’s home run gave the team a much-needed offensive boost.

“That (grand slam) was really the thing that put things ahead,” Riker said. “Karl was dominating on the mound; we just weren’t scoring any runs early. That kind of gave us some breathing room.”

Josh Tanksley (20) of Brother Rice slides into home plate safely during the team’s 6-3 win in Game 1.(Jake Thielen | MLive.com)

Junior Alex Malzone and sophomore Preston Pilat hit solo home runs in the win, while Malzone and Feldman each picked up a RBI on sacrifice flies.

After splitting its season-opening doubleheader with East Grand Rapids, the Eaglets’ two losses Wednesday dropped them to 1-3 on the season. St. Mary’s assistant coach Bobby Clouse, filling in for head coach Matt Petry, said the team needs to work on improving its fundamentals going forward.

“(Brother Rice) didn’t make any little mistakes, and we made a couple small mistakes that cost us,” Clouse said. “I think we walked a couple people there, (gave) them a couple free passes and then they made us pay. When you play a team like Rice, we have to make sure we take care of all the little things.”

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