Nick Plummer (11), Birmingham Brother Rice, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run during varsity baseball action against Madison Heights Bishop Foley at Rice Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
BASEBALL: Brother Rice prevails over Bishop Foley in CHSL clash WITH VIDEO
Garrett Schilling, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, makes a play from his short stop position during varsity baseball action at Birmingham Brother Rice Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Sammy Stevens, Birmingham Brother Rice, winces after taking a foul ball off his foot during varsity baseball action against Madison Heights Bishop Foley at Rice Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Thomas Brumfield, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, reaches for the bag on a pick off play during varsity baseball action at Birmingham Brother Rice Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
TROY – The best of the best in the Catholic League met up on the baseball diamond Wednesday for the second straight year, with A-B champ Birmingham Brother Rice and C-D champ Madison Heights Bishop Foley going toe-to-toe.
Avenging a loss from last year, host Brother Rice rallied to top Bishop Foley 6-3 and finally take back bragging rights after three consecutive defeats to the Ventures in what's become a much-anticipated annual late regular-season clash of local state-powers.
“It’s always nice to get a win against such a good team like Bishop Foley, especially since they’ve really handed it to us when we’ve gone against each other lately,” said Brother Rice skipper Bob Riker of the victory. “Timely hitting, solid pitching and defense, that’s what we brought today and that’s the kind of combination that allows you to find success.”
Last week, both Riker’s Warriors and Bishop Foley claimed repeat Catholic League championships.
Brother Rice (23-8) has raised Catholic League crowns in four of the past six seasons.
Bishop Foley (25-2) is the two-time defending state title-holder in Division 3.
On Wednesday, Brother Rice fell behind 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth inning before staging a comeback. Warriors’ sophomore outfielder Nick Plummer tied the game with a double in the fourth and junior infielder Freddy Jehle capped a 4-for-4 day at the plate, slapping the go-ahead RBI-single in the fifth.
“We were very focused and had short-term memories,” Jehle said. “That’s how you have to be, you can’t get too down on yourselves or become too confident. You’ve got to be able to find that middle ground.”
Jehle, also a whiz with the glove in his hands on defense, liked the way his team weathered the storm to come out in front.
“We stuck together, like we always do and finished the way we were supposed to, the way we are taught to,” he said.
Junior hurler Randy Righter snatched the victory from the pitching rubber for Brother Rice and sophomore third baseman Alex Malzone went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored.
The second game of what was supposed to be a doubleheader between the pair of juggernauts was called, tied 3-3 in the sixth inning due to darkness at Brother Rice’s gorgeous new field in Troy, off Maple Road.
Bishop Foley’s effort was led by junior Brad Baldwin, who collected 5 hits on the day.
“We just couldn’t sustain and it cost us,” Ventures head coach Buster Sunde said.
Next on the schedule for Sunde and his Ventures is another CHSL crossover with Novi Detroit Catholic Central, the team that lost to Brother Rice 12-1 in the league finals down at Comerica Park last Thursday.
Brother Rice gets back to work Friday, squaring off in non-league action versus Rochester Adams.