KAMLOOPS — One of the TRU Wolfpack baseball team's leaders wasn’t even playing the sport just two years ago.
Liam Rihela was a highly-recruited baseball prospect out of White Rock, B.C., originally signing with Texas’ Trinity University of the NCAA Division Three.
In just his second year, Rihela helped those Trinity Tigers reach heights the squad had never achieved before.
"I think the greatest accomplishment (was when I) won a D3 World Series when I was down there. It was an amazing experience," Rihela says. "My first year, we ended up coming third, made it to the World Series for the first time in school history and then won it my second year."
A year later, Rihela played in California, and a year after that he found himself coaching a Bantam team.
It was when he was coaching at the Best of the West tournament in Kamloops when he was rediscovered by WolfPack head coach Ray Chadwick.
"I’m like, 'What are you doing?' And he says 'I’m coaching.' I go 'No, you’re too good to be coaching and too young to be coaching. Register for school, register and apply for school — you’ll play here'," said Chadwick
And that’s exactly what he did.
In his second year as a TRU WolfPack infielder, Rihela is among the league leaders in both batting and RBI, and on top of that — he's one of the team's biggest leaders.
"He goes, we go, and he’s going pretty good as you can see, and we’ve been pretty good this year," said Chadwick
With a rejuvenated passion, Rihela’s only desire is to continue to play the game long after his time at TRU expires.
"Just keep playing and hopefully something comes out of that, maybe get drafted. If not, just keep playing, maybe play professional [independent] ball, sign somewhere. Play as long as I can really."
But according to Chadwick, Rihela might just be a little too humble.
"No doubt that whether he’s drafted or not, he will get the chance to play at the next level," Chadwick said.
Not too shabby for a Bantam coach.
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