Pace pitcher bound for college in New York

Sports By David Snelling, Reporter Thursday, June 17, 2021

Monsignor Edward Pace High senior pitcher Luke Rier’s stellar performance during the 2021 season has earned him some impressive accolades.

Rier, 18, was recently named to The Miami Herald First Team All-Dade selection, the High School Baseball Net- work’s (HSBN) Miami Dade Private School All-Star team as well as the HSBN 3A-14 All District Team, and as HSBN’s 3A-14 Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year.

Rier was also named a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All State Team and he was invited to play in the senior All Star game in early June.

Rier has committed to play for Manhattan College in New York, where he was awarded the Presidential Scholarship after registering a 3.7 GPA.

Not bad for a player who was cut during his sophomore season.

Rier lives in North Miami Beach. Of the accolades that he collected in one year, he said, “It was amazing since I came a long way from being cut to playing the way I did this season.

“It’s a testament to all the hard work I put in and the coaches putting their trust
in me .... the belief I had in myself to get to this point, to be chosen as one of the top players in South Florida,” Rier said

When Rier made the team during his junior season, he was ready to show that he belonged.

But the COVID-19 pandemic cut the Spartans’ season short.

Rier, a left-handed pitcher, used the time to train hard: He threw a lot of balls, lifted weights and ran and swam a mile every day.

Pace head coach Tom Duffin said in his 28 years coaching the Spartans, Rier became one of the school’s best pitchers.

“This year, he comes into spring training and is throwing fast ball pitches,” Duffin said. “This kid can win at this level.”

Rier recorded a 6-1 record during the season with a 1.97 ERA, striking out 37 batters in 49.2 innings pitched, Duffin said.

His fastballs helped the Spartans win the 3A-14 District championship over City of Hialeah Educational Academy and defeated that team in the regional quarterfinals, 9-7, on April 29.

In the regional semifinals against Coral Springs Charter on May 6, Rier carried a no-hitter into the top of the seventh inning but gave up a home run that tied the game at 1.

After a two-and-a-half- hour rain delay, the game ended in the 12th inning at 1:30 a.m. with Coral Springs Charter winning 2-1, Duffin said.

Duffin has won two championships in five trips to the state tournament with the Spartans and said he’s impressed with the performances of Rier and the squad.

“As a team, we hit .250
but won the district title and advanced to the regional semifinals,” he said. “We came in this year young and inexperienced and look at what we accomplished.”

Despite the loss, Rier said the Coral Springs game was the most exciting he’s ever played.

“I always will remember that game,” he said. “It was a long rain delay, but I felt good that day. It was just that one pitch that tied the game, but
I couldn’t be prouder of our team after the game.”

He enrolled at Manhattan College to study sports communications and to be able to play baseball in front of his relatives who live in New York.

“It’s a dream to play baseball in front of them,” he said. “I love the urban area and the campus environment is great. I can’t wait to get up there.”

Photo of Spartans pitcher Luke Rier courtesy of Monsignor Edward Pace High School.

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