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June 11, 2013

Rice baseball marches to Battle Creek, beats Lake Orion 7-3 in D-1 quarterfinal

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Rice baseball marches to Battle Creek, beats Lake Orion 7-3 in D-1 quarterfinal
Alex Malzone was called out at the plate, but Rice had enough offense to power past Lake Orion 7-3 in a D-1 quarterfinal at Saline High Tuesday afternoon.

SALINE — It was one final threat, a last-ditch effort that was quickly gaining some life.

Still trailing by four runs, Lake Orion High had now worked runners to first and second with just one out in the top of the seventh inning.

Brother Rice senior Dalton Greyernriehl entered the game to close the door, but was teetering on something very dangerous against one of the best teams in Oakland County.

He stepped off the rubber and took a deep breathe before unleashing his dipping, side-arm release.

From short, to second, to first, and now, to Battle Creek.

“The difference was pitching today,” Rice coach Bob Riker said following a 7-3 victory Tuesday afternoon at Saline High in a Division 1 quarterfinal. Greyernriehl’s double-play inducing ground ball was the feather to the cap of a brilliant effort by the Rice staff in shutting down the Dragons.

“Our guys did a great job," Riker added. "We outpitched (Lake Orion) a bit today.”

“I have to say the same; they were just better than us today,” Lake Orion coach Andy Schramek said. “They never let us get those bunches of hits and runs that we needed.”

Rice (31-8-1) struck first, crossing the plate in the top of the second on a John Garry infield single.

The difference came in the top of the fourth.

Keyed by a two-run double from Randy Righter, the Warriors scored five times in the frame to take a 6-0 lead.

“When you get up, it’s a little easier to play,” Riker said of the six-run lead.

Schaenzer provided all of Lake Orion’s offense, capitalizing on one of the few mistakes Righter made on the mound, for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth.

But Rice answered right back in the fifth with another run, giving the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Meanwhile for Rice, Righter went 4.2 innings, allowing the three runs on seven hits.

Josh Smith pitched 2.1 innings, giving up one single hit, and Greyernriehl closed things out in the seventh, sending Rice to Battle Creek for a 10 a.m. June 14 semifinal against a 33-7 Howell squad.

The game is scheduled to be played at Nichols Field inside Bailey Park.

“Howell is one of best-coached clubs in the state,” Riker said. “We expect a dog fight. We can’t put guys on base, because they are very aggressive and will make you pay.”

The teams split a doubleheader earlier this season.

The Dragons close the season 32-9.

In other quarterfinal action
Madison Heights Bishop Foley beat Flint Powers Catholic Central 9-1 in a D-3 quarterfinal.

The two-time defending state champ faces Bridgman High at 2 p.m. June 14 in C.O. Brown Stadium.

Foley beat Bridgman 8-2 in the 2011 final.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.