Birmingham Brother Rice’s Tommy MacLean readies a pitch in a recent road game against Novi Detroit Catholic Central. The Warriors dropped both games of the doubleheader April 3.

Birmingham Brother Rice’s Tommy MacLean readies a pitch in a recent road game against Novi Detroit Catholic Central. The Warriors dropped both games of the doubleheader April 3.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Brother Rice baseball welcoming in young talent

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 9, 2019

BIRMINGHAM — Last season, the Birmingham Brother Rice baseball team made a run to the Division 1 state semifinals. After a 7-3 loss to Brownstown Woodhaven, the Warriors lost some key pieces from that team.

Outfielder Reese Trahey and catcher Gabe Sotres both went on to continue their baseball careers in college at Michigan State University. Second baseman JD Allen is attending school at the University of Michigan.

Those three have been replaced by freshmen Charlie D’Angelo, Kevin Matthews and Jake Coulter. The Warriors are only in the early stages of their season, but coach Bob Riker likes what he sees from the young talent.

“The biggest thing I like about them is they know how to play the game, and they’re not intimidated,” Riker said. “They’ve got some good skill.”

Riker pointed to three players who he’s leaning on to lead the team this year.

Tito Flores is a senior who is listed as an outfielder, first baseman and pitcher. Flores is set to play at Michigan next year. Riker said Flores really embraces the role of teaching the younger guys.

Tyler Sarkisian is committed to play at the University of Chicago next season. The coach called his senior pitcher “a great quality kid.”

Rounding out the trio is pitcher and outfielder Jake Riem.

“They’re just quality people that think about others rather than themselves first,” Riker said. “The biggest strength is our leadership. We have a lot of guys coming back who have kind of been through the battles. We’ve got nine seniors that are pretty high-caliber kids that direct the younger guys, which is awesome.”

During Riker’s tenure, the Warriors have won nine Catholic High School League titles. He has 12 district championships, six regional championships and one state title coming in 2008.

Despite last season’s losses, the Warriors still believe that they have the ability to finish at the top of the Catholic League, win the Catholic League tournament at Comerica Park and make yet another deep run in the state playoffs.

“I think we have potential,” Sarkisian said. “We just have to get the bats going and have the pitchers throw strikes. If we do our best, we can compete in every game.”

If Rice is to get back to the state semifinals, the defense will have to improve. At press time, the Warriors were 3-5 overall and had surrendered 40 runs. Riker said throwing strikes and playing defense are of the utmost importance when it comes to winning games.

The Brother Rice grad said he plans to move some pieces around defensively to find something that works best. The Warriors still have plenty of games left to play this season, and Riker is optimistic that the defense will be able to turn itself around.

Once that happens, the Warriors have the pitching and leadership to make a run and accomplish their goals.

“We’ve got the leadership to definitely take us there, and the talent,” Riker said. “It’s a matter of getting hot at the right time. If you can get hot at the right time, a lot of things can happen. We’ve got a good group of kids. Hopefully, they can stay focused and work hard. We’ll see what happens.”