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CHSL: Catholic League champions “finalized” this past week on baseball & softball diamond

By: Scott Burnstein, May 22, 2013, 10:00 am

DETROIT – The powerhouse Catholic League crowned its annual champions on the high school diamond this week, two of them being of the repeat variety.

The two repeats took place on the baseball field, where Birmingham Brother Rice thrashed traditional-rival Novi Detroit Catholic Central 12-2 in the A-B final and Madison Heights Bishop Foley rolled past Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 8-2 in the C-D final.

In softball, Farmington Hills Mercy dethroned two-time defending champ Livonia Ladywood, cranking out an eyeball-popping eight home runs in a 12-5 win in the A-B final and in the C-D final, Royal Oak Shrine jumped out to a fast lead and used the momentum to propel itself to a 6-4 victory over Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

Brother Rice (22-8) captured its fourth CHSL title in six seasons, receiving contributions from several of its star players. All-American Warriors’ junior hurler Matt Ruppenthal (Vanderbilt) plucked the win on the mound, going the distance, scattering 5 hits. Sophomore sensation Alex Malzone, a heavily-recruited Division I college quarterback, headed Brother Rice’s offensive assault, collecting 3 RBI on the day, including smacking the mercy rule-inducing 2-run double in the sixth inning.

Ruppenthal, who has been on fire from the plate as well as the hill this year, along with fellow junior Sammy Stevens (C) and sophomore John Garry (OF), posted a pair of RBI apiece in the game.

Competing in its fourth straight Catholic League championship game at Comerica Park, Bishop Foley (25-1) made it two trophies in a row with a workmanlike effort. Ventures junior ace Garrett Schilling picked up the tally in the win column toeing the slab, while junior Mike Reid paced the squad’s offense, going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI. His 3-run triple in the third inning made it 5-0. Sophomore slugger Nate Grys, already committed to Western Michigan, doused any thoughts of a late Fighting Irish rally, lacing a 2-run double into the gap in left center to make it 7-2.

The win was even sweeter since the two-time defending state champion Ventures only loss of the current campaign was Notre Dame Prep. Bishop Foley is attempting to become the first prep baseball team in MHSAA history to ever grab three consecutive state titles.

Unlike the boys’ crown that is decided at Comerica Park, the girls championship showdown took place at Buysse Field on the campus of the University of Detroit-Mercy, where the Shrine Knights and the Mercy Marlins corralled the hardware.

Shrine (18-4) hadn’t won a CHSL title since 2008. The Knights got a 10-strikeout outing in the circle from Lexie Cavanaugh.

Mercy (24-1) broke a decade-long drought and a string of dramatic extra-frame losses the past three seasons – two to Ladywood the last two years and an epic 21-inning, 2-day classic in 2010 to Allen Park Cabrini – and did it in sizzling fashion. The Marlins saw six different players launch their eight dingers (Abby Kyrzwiekci, Alex Sobczac, Meg Tarrance, Jordan Ewald, Jaclyn Murphy, Molly Murphy) and in the process shattered the previous state single-season record for round-trippers, which had been 40, and is now at 46 and counting.

Sobczac, Mercy’s hard-hitting sophomore, bashed two and is sitting at 17 for the season, a mere one shy of tying the state record.

Kryzwiecki, the Marlin’s fantastic freshman, sent a pair over the fence as well, in addition to snaring the victory pitching, coming into the circle in relief in the third following a wobbly start, seeing Mercy fall behind 3-0 early.

Exactly like Bishop Foley in baseball, the Mercy softballers avenged its only prior loss of the 2013 season in the CHSL finals, a defeat that came at the hands of Ladywood earlier in the month.