DETROIT – Elite is the best way to describe the group of four Birmingham Brother Rice baseball players destined to be Michigan Wolverines.
Senior outfielder Ty Kiafoulis, junior outfielder Nick Plummer and sophomore pitcher Karl Kauffmann have all been future “Michigan Men” for a while. Junior two-sport superstar Alex Malzone joined the club earlier this week.
Kiafoulis, Plummer and Kauffmann will each be competing on the diamond in college. Malzone, Brother Rice’s all-league third baseman in the spring and all-state quarterback in the fall, committed to play football at Michigan Monday during an unofficial visit with head coach Brady Hoke and his staff.
Helping Brother Rice claim a third Catholic League crown in a row Thursday, with a 7-1 toppling of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at Comerica Park in the CHSL Finals (A-B Division), the Ann Arbor-bound diamond-cutting crew sliced and diced it’s way to another in a long list of championships.
Plummer went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Malzone was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI in the CHSL crowning.
Kauffmann was brilliant in relief from the mound, striking out eight batters in less than three innings of work.
Although he didn’t make huge ways at Comerica on Thursday, Kiafoulis is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the state.
Brother Rice skipper Bob Riker is pleased that all four will be landing in the same spot at the next level.
“They’ll be able to really look after each other in what will be a transition period in their lives, I think it’s fantastic,” he said.
His players are thrilled about their plans as well.
“We’re all going to be wearing the Maize and Blue, that’s pretty cool,” Plummer said.
Kiafoulis harkens back to days past when discussing the future
“We’ve all grown up playing a lot of different sports together, it’s exciting to know we’ll be continuing that bond,” he said. “Alex (Malzone) and I have known each other since kindergarten and now we’re going to be heading to the same college. The time has flown by and we’ve made so many great memories. We’re all very lucky to be getting the chance to go to a school like Michigan and play the sports we love.”
Back in the fall, Malzone and Kiafoulis (starting tight end) helped take Brother Rice to a third straight state title on the gridiron.
For the entirety of his recruiting process, Malzone was gearing towards a scholarship offer from Michigan and the moment he got it, he jumped on it.
"I'm pumped," he said. "The University of Michigan is an outstanding school and an unbelievable place to be. Knowing that we're all going to be there together just makes it that much better."
Ranked No. 2 in the state, Brother Rice is 28-2 and is hoping for a return trip to the final four next month (the Warriors lost to Bay City Western in the state finals in 2013).