By: Dan Bies ’18 and Brendan McInerney ‘18
The Brother Rice baseball team proudly competed in the elite USA Baseball National High School Invitational earlier this month at the USA baseball complex in Cary, North Carolina. The 16 team tournament featured powerhouse programs from the likes of California Florida, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia. The games kicked off on March 29th and crowned a champion on April 1st. Not only was Brother Rice the first team from Illinois to be selected to this prestigious event, but the first team to be selected from the Midwest as well. The Crusaders were ready to represent the Midwest and felt good heading into the tournament.
The team finished the tournament with a respectable 1-3 record. The Crusaders came up short against South Hills, Cullman, and Merritt Island. The one victory the Crusaders had was a dominant 12-1 win over Rocky Mountain from Colorado. Junior Zach Litke talked about his time playing in the tournament. “As a junior getting to play some of the top programs in the country and playing some of the top prospects is a true honor.” When asked who did the best for the Crusaders Litke commented, “I thought Brett Bagus was the star of our team during the whole tournament, he was stunning at the plate and in the field.” The play of seniors Ryan Kutt, Ryan King, and Jack Guzek should not be overlooked either. Thanks to a little help from head varsity basketball coach Bobby Frasor, the team was fortunate enough to get a peek at the campus of the University of North Carolina. The team also got a chance to see Duke University and historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. All in all, the tournament was something the team took great pride in and it was an experience the players will never forget. Hopefully, the Crusaders will find themselves back in Cary, North Carolina again in the future.