Former Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, father of Country Day junior shortstop Tyler Inge, throws out the ceremonial first pitch.

Former Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, father of Country Day junior shortstop Tyler Inge, throws out the ceremonial first pitch.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Country Day baseball players prove there’s more to baseball with charity game

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 8, 2023

 Country Day senior Clay Hartje takes a swing during the game.

Country Day senior Clay Hartje takes a swing during the game.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


BIRMINGHAM — For  Detroit Country Day and Birmingham Seaholm’s baseball teams, a March 29 doubleheader meant so much more than wins and losses.

As both teams gathered early Saturday morning, Country Day’s matchup with Seaholm was about raising awareness and money for a special cause, the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation, which hit home for two Country Day players.

It was an “Orange Out” in honor of Chad’s favorite color, and Country Day had special orange jerseys showcasing “#ChadTough” on the front as the team collected donations and sold bracelets and T-shirts.

Chad Carr, the grandson of former Michigan Wolverines head coach Llyod Carr, passed away at 5-years-old after a battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable brain tumor, back in 2015.

Tyler Inge, a junior shortstop for Country Day, had connections that go far beyond sports with the Carr family from his father, former Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Inge and Carr family became very close during the course of Inge’s 12-year tenure with the Tigers, with the Inge family and Chad’s mother, Tammy Carr, becoming intertwined.

Inge’s wife, Shani, was Chad’s godmother; Tyler Inge and Tammy’s oldest son, Notre Dame football commit CJ Carr, are close friends; and Tammy’s other son, Tommy, is friends with Brandon Inge’s other son, Chase.

“It meant a lot to me as I knew Chad and I am still very good friends with CJ and the whole Carr family,” Tyler Inge said.

“My dad has always been one of my biggest supporters, and he would do anything for this cause, so when I brought the idea up to my mom and dad, they immediately thought it was great and helped me and Hunter plan.”

Tyler Inge wasn’t the only Country Day player to have a connection to the foundation through a parent, as Country Day senior outfielder Hunter Riutta’s mother, Robin, has worked with the ChadTough foundation in the past putting on the foundation’s annual fundraising gala in Ann Arbor and worked the donation tent during the charity game.

Riutta gave a speech before the game, talking about the importance of the foundation and what it means to both his family and the Inge family, and he was no stranger to giving speeches on the topic.

Just a few days prior, Riutta and Tyler Inge gave a speech to the student body at Country Day about the foundation before they sold the shirts during lunch, and before the game even started, Country Day baseball had raised over $1,000 for the foundation.

Riutta said his mother’s work with the foundation was a driving factor for him to help bring this event together.

“It was probably the biggest influence I had, because I didn’t really know the Inges before this season, and she told me about this foundation she started to work for, and it honestly made me break down because of how sad and terrible it was,” Riutta said. “I was like, ‘well, I want to do something that can definitely help or at least get Country Day involved.’”

Riutta was also able to get his physical therapist on board with the game, Dr. Tim Wiater, who owns Michigan Orthopaedic Rehabilitation.

Michigan Orthopaedic covered all expenses for Country Day’s jerseys, shirts and bracelets to sell at the game.

When it was all said and done, Country Day baseball had raised $1,650 towards the ChadTough Foundation.

Although it was a first of its kind at Country Day, Riutta said he hopes the event paves the way for an annual charity baseball game at Country Day in the future.

“I hope so. That’s the goal,” Riutta said.

Seaholm took both games in the doubleheader, 4-2 and 6-4, respectively, but both teams were winners on a day that meant so much more than baseball.

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