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BASEBALL: Sterling Heights Stevenson takes first game from Brother Rice, 6-1, ties second, 3-3

By: Branden Hunter, April 1, 2014, 12:01 am

TROY – Comerica Park wasn’t the only multi-million dollar baseball diamond hosting a game in the area. Yes the Brother Rice Warriors have a $1.7 million dollar field, complete with an artificial infield, where they hosted Sterling Heights Stevenson for a two-game series.

Stevenson (1-0-1) took the first game, 6-1, led by a dominating pitching performance by senior Zack McGuire. He’s a Michigan State signee and pitched five stellar innings, striking out five, and only allowing three hits to the Warriors star-studded line-up.

"He’s a great kid and does everything the right  way," said coach Joe Emanuele. "He’s a hard worker and I’m never shocked by his performances, because he’s been this way since he’s been here."

Brother Rice is a very good team but Zack was better today."

The Titans bats were also hot early on. Brandon Williams allowed Dean Emanuele to score on a RBI single in the first for the 1-0 lead. They would increase their lead to 3-0, when Williams doubled in the third. He finished 2-3, with three RBIs. 

"When you have a bunch of old guys in your lineup, they don’t get messed up and they stay focused," Emanuele said. "It’s the younger teams that struggle. I fully anticipated us coming out here and playing well and it was a good start."

The Titans would add another run in the top of the sixth inning to go up 4-0, as Brother Rice struggled with their pitching and hitting. Coach Bob Riker used four pitchers on the day, coming off a two-game series yesterday against U-D Jesuit.

"Stevenson’s a good club and they’re well coached," Riker said. "They swing the bat well and beat us handily. That’s the type of team you’re going to have to beat if you want to win a state title. Our team has a lot of work to do.

"We got their No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers and our guys came out and played like little leaguers," Riker added. "We played kind of selfish and didn’t really do anything. We didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning and I think it was a swinging bunt."

Junior Nick Plummer would slide home in the bottom of the sixth inning to put Brother Rice on the board, but that was all they could produce. Plummer went 1-2 and a stolen base, while their big bats, Matt Ruppenthal and Randy Righter, combined to go 1-6.

Top junior Riley McCauley added some insurance runs in the top of the seventh, sending a ball over the left field fence, to put Stevenson up 6-1. 

"That was big," said Emanuele. "Against a team like this you have to take away their energy. That kind of took the rally out of them and we hit and pitched very well, which I was pleased with, being the first time out this year."

Brother Rice (2-1-1) would tie with Stevenson in the second game, 3-3, after the game was called due to darkness in the sixth inning. 

Stevenson jumped off to an early 2-0 lead again, before Davis Feldman tripled for Brother Rice in the bottom of the fourth to tie it. Feldman would score on a sacrifice fly by Preston Pillat to go up 3-2. Stevenson tied it once again, before the game was called.