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Warriors will rely on bats early on as pitching staff comes together

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 2, 2018

 Birmingham Brother Rice sophomore Mikey Gall pitches during a March 28 game against Macomb Dakota. Pitching maturity will be key for the Warriors this spring.

Birmingham Brother Rice sophomore Mikey Gall pitches during a March 28 game against Macomb Dakota. Pitching maturity will be key for the Warriors this spring.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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BIRMINGHAM — For the better part of his coaching career at Birmingham Brother Rice, manager Bob Riker has always had an ace or two on the mound.

Things may be a bit different in 2018 for the Warriors, who returned almost their entire roster from last spring, but are dealing with inexperience and youth at the pitcher position.

“It’s going to take some time getting guys experience,” Riker said. “But we’re also still figuring out who those guys are going to be. It’s a process of fitting the right pieces where they go.”

The Warriors went 29-8 last spring, winning a sixth consecutive Catholic High School League title before bowing out of the state playoffs in a regional final.

From that team, 15 varsity veterans returned to a roster that also boasts eight seniors. From last year’s starting lineup, only shortstop Chris Faust, currently playing at Grand Valley State University, has departed.

“Defensively, we’re going to be pretty strong,” Riker said. “We should be very good.”

With most of the lineup back, the Warriors will be a team that can pound out runs, especially in the first handful of spots.

Reese Trahey (committed to Michigan State University), Gabe Sotres (MSU), Jack Orlowski (MSU) and Tito Flores (uncommitted) are all Division 1 prospects at the top of the lineup.

And that’s just the start.

“There’s no easy out in our group,” Riker said. “We expect to hit the ball pretty well. … Truthfully, we’re probably going to have to slug some games out. Usually we’re a team that pitches and finds ways to get runs, but we’ll be a little different this year.”

Of course, different doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

With the talent on the roster, and the potential Riker sees in the pitching staff, the sky is the limit.

“We expect to compete for a Catholic League title again,” he said. “At the same time, (Warren) De La Salle is very loaded; (Novi Detroit Catholic Central) and (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) are strong. We’re going to have to play every game. I think we’ll find out really just how good this group can be.”

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