Brother Rice Secures Spot In 4A State Championship With Win Over New Trier

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

Friday’s night cap featured two more high level teams at the 4A classification with a spot in the state championship game on the line. Brother Rice (25-15) and New Trier (29-7) squared off under the lights, with the winner set to face Edwardsville in tomorrow’s title match. 

It was Brother Rice who scored first in this contest, pushing a run across in the bottom of the second inning. With a runner on first, junior Ryan Hartz (2024) turned around a loud line drive that soared over the left fielder’s head and put the Crusaders on the board. 

New Trier threatened in the top of the fourth, putting runners in scoring position on Brother Rice starter Cole Van Assen (2023; Purdue). The future Boilermaker held his composure, however, and induced an inning-ending 5-3 groundout to keep the Trevians off the board. 

Shortly after, Brother Rice looked to extend their lead in the bottom half of the inning. They put runners on first and second with one out when Trevians’ southpaw Max Kaplan (2024) got Hartz to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the inning. Through four complete, the Crusaders still led 1-0. 

The Crusaders added onto their lead in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second, Amir Gray (2023; Purdue) sprayed a single into the left-center gap, plating a run, and giving the Crusaders a 2-0 advantage with one out in the frame. Sophomore Gavin Triezenberg (2025) peppered a single back up the middle to score another run. They’d add another run in the sixth on an RBI single from Sean Sullivan (2023) and, with three outs to go, the Crusaders led 4-0. 

Four runs is plenty for Brother Rice, especially with Van Assen on the mound. Brother Rice’s ace was just that in this contest, navigating a tough New Trier lineup for a complete game shutout, striking out eight, and allowing just two hits. His fastball played in the mid-to-upper-80s throughout, touching 90 mph a few times early, and he threw his entire secondary arsenal for strikes. Most notably was Van Assen’s slider to right-handed hitters, a tightly spun pitch with depth at 79-80 mph, and an advanced, naturally fading changeup to left-handed bats that played in the low-80s. 

With the 3-0 win, Brother Rice advances to Saturday’s state championship game, where the Crusaders will face Edwardsville. New Trier draws York in the 4A third-place game that’ll take place beforehand.