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Brother Rice stays scorching hot, sweeps St. Mary's WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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ORCHARD LAKE – It was hard to tell what was more incredible, the fact that Birmingham Brother Rice baseball coach Bob Riker already knew the question was coming or that he wasn’t tempted in the slightest to answer yes.

Reporter: “So coach, I know it is early, but ….”

Riker: “Please don’t start,” as he smiled politely.

Reporter: “But given the way your team has played this year, you HAVE to be tempted to say this is the best team you have ever had, if not THE best, right?

Predictably and understandably, Riker didn’t budge following a Catholic League Central Division doubleheader sweep over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Saturday, nor should he have because any great coach like he is constantly needs to motivate his team, even when things couldn’t be going any better.

“No,” Riker said. “It doesn’t matter now. You want to get hot at the right time and we are playing good baseball right now.”

If the way Brother Rice is playing is “good,” then it is hard to imagine what great baseball looks like.

The Warriors continued to not just win, but pound opponents into submission by easily handling a St. Mary’s team that is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 2, winning 10-1 and 8-4 to improve to 22-1 overall and 14-0 in the CHSL Central.

There just doesn’t seem to be a weakness right now in the Warriors, who are getting great pitching, can’t be held down by any pitcher when they come to bat, are playing solid defense and running the bases smartly.

In the first game, senior ace Matt Ruppenthal allowed just four hits and a run in six innings of work and the Warriors offense produced six runs in the first three innings to jump out to a big early lead.

The big inning was the second, when Brother Rice scored four runs, two of which came courtesy of a 2-run double by senior Freddy Jehle.

John Garry went 4-for-4 with an RBI and Jehle reached base three times and scored four times for the Warriors, obviously ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 1.

The offense was humming again in the second game, when senior Randy Righter had two RBI and junior Nick Plummer blasted a 2-run home run to right-center to finish off a three-run fourth inning that gave the Warriors a 6-2 lead.

Brother Rice added two runs in the sixth to complete another one of its run-scoring festivals.

As mentioned above, St. Mary’s isn’t chopped liver, either.

The Eaglets might be 10-11 on the year overall and 6-8 in league play, but that record is more a byproduct of a terrific schedule, including now four losses against Brother Rice.

St. Mary’s can play and is a bona fide threat to win it all in Division 2, but just simply couldn’t hang with a Brother Rice team that is in a different galaxy at the moment.

“They have no holes in their lineup and they have a lot of strike throwers on their team,” St. Mary’s head coach Matt Petry said. “They certainly won’t beat themselves and a very good team.”

In about six weeks when the season concludes in East Lansing, it could end up being called Brother Rice’s best team ever.

Just don’t ask Coach Riker that question at the moment, because he knows it’s coming.

Last Updated: 4/26/2014 10:56:00 PM EST

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