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South 2014 graduate Richie Kish is heading to Hope College to pitch at the next level. photo by Bob Bruce.

August 07, 2014
Grosse Pointe South 2014 graduate Richie Kish went about his business with the gusto it takes to be a champion.

The 18-year-old spent a combined two decades (nine years in football and 11 in baseball) working at becoming a solid athlete.

His work ethic and demeanor created a good student-athlete who got the job done on the football field and baseball diamond.

"I love playing football and baseball, but I have to say baseball is my best sport," Kish said.

Kish was fortunate to learn both games from his father, Ken, who was an all-state quarterback at Farmington Hills Harrison who also played at Albion College.

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Kish began his senior season by earning First Team All-MAC Blue, Free Press All-East Honorable Mention and a three-year varsity letter winner on the gridiron.

He quarterbacked the Blue Devils to another division title, sharing it with L'Anse Creuse North in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, and a spot in the Division 1 state playoffs.

Kish didn't start the season opener, a 24-7 loss to U-D Jesuit, or the second game, a 39-37 loss to LCN.

However, he played nearly the entire second half in relief against LCN and nearly rallied the Blue Devils to the victory.

If it wasn't for a last-second defense miscue, Kish would have been the winning quarterback.

In the comeback, Kish completed 6-of-8 passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns, and followed that with an 8-for-15 performance the following week in a 24-13 victory over Fraser.

He threw for 80 yards and one touchdown as the Blue Devils improved to 2-1 overall.

In a tough 6-0 loss to Utica Eisenhower in week No. 4, Kish completed 20-of-38 passes for 207 yards. He did throw two interceptions, but redeemed himself the following week by throwing two TDs among his 6-of-8 performance for 104 yards.

In a 51-14 win over Port Huron, Kish completed 8-of-11 passes for an amazing 240 yards with a career-best five touchdowns.

He also threw for 135 yards, with one TD and two picks in a 21-10 win over rival Grosse Pointe North; 196 yards and three scores in a 36-7 victory over L'Anse Creuse; and 108 yards and one TD in a 34-0 win over St. Clair Shores Lakeview.

In the playoff loss to Detroit Cass Tech, Kish completed 10-of-27 passes for 105 yards.

For the season, Kish competed 82-of-156 passes (52.6 percent) for 1,300 yards, with 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He displayed a calm demeanor on the field and the Blue Devils responded by winning their final five regular season games to claim the share of the division title and the playoff spot under head coach Tim Brandon.

"Richie was a dedicated and hard-working student and athlete," Brandon said. "He was a great pocket passer with a keen sense of situations.

"He was adept at reading coverages and checking down when situations dictated. He was a true student of the game. Richie was an all-around great young man and an outstanding leader.

"As good as he was a QB, one of his most impactful plays was on defense. His fumble recovery and lateral playing safety led to a score and the win in the state quarterfinal game against Bedford in 2010. I would love to have a Richie Kish every season."

He did not play a winter sport, but worked out in the weight room, while also taking batting and pitching practice in anticipation for his final year of high school baseball.

Kish pitched pretty well, tossing 44 total innings. He struck out 20 and finished 3-4 on the season with a 2.068 ERA and 1.591 WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched).

His wins came against Hoban, Ohio, Chippewa Valley and Grosse Pointe North.

"I had a decent baseball season and wish I would have struck out a few more hitters, but overall it was sweet to make the state championship game," Kish said. "We really thought we had a shot to win it all after beating Sterling Heights Stevenson.

"We struggled in the first half of the season, but put it together in the second half and made a nice run. We fell a win short. It was a great way to end my final year of high school baseball."

When you add his sophomore and junior years to the statistics, Kish threw 86 innings and had a record of 7-5.

Offensively, he hit .280 (7-for-25), with a couple of RBIs and a run scored. He earned the Blue Devil Award from his teammates and was a team captain.

When it came time to make a decision where to attend college, the choice was easy. Kish is heading to Hope College where his older brother, Robbie, plays football for the Flying Dutchmen.

"I have been to Robbie's football games and been around the campus, so I was very familiar with the college and what it had to offer to me," Kish said. "It was exactly what I was looking for. I will get a great education and get a chance to play college sports before working in the field I'm going to pursue, engineering."

The Flying Dutchmen finished 22-21 this spring and 17-11 in the MIAA. Kish's new rival is Calvin College.

In addition, Kish is attending a college, which won a league-record 35th MIAA Commissioner's Cup this spring. Hope earned 211 points in men's and women's varsity sports to finish two points ahead of Calvin in the all-sports standings.

"I'm excited to begin this part of my life," Kish said. "I am fortunate to learn so much from my dad and older brother. The stuff they taught me has helped me become a strong individual and going to college with Robbie is something, which will benefit both of us.

"I can't wait to go."

"I am very proud of the way Richie has enjoyed the good times and persevered through tough times, all with the same confidence and positive attitude," Richie's father, Ken Kish, said. "Hope College has so much to offer and we can't wait to see what paths Richie takes in college."

He also thought about attending Butler University, Case Western Reserve University, Elmhurst College and Valparaiso University, but in the end it was Hope which won out.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 185-pound right-handed pitcher brings his 82-84 mph fastball to Hope College. During the next four years, Kish said he will get into the baseball team's weight training program, where the extra muscle will help his fastball creep into the upper 80s.

"I have some time before heading to Hope for orientation and begin classes," Kish said.

He still plays summer ball for the Redbirds and is preparing for the college team's fall schedule.

Kish finished South with a 3.75 grade point average where his favorite class was AP chemistry.

With Robbie Kish heading into his junior year at Hope and Richie Kish his freshman year in college, the final Kish at South is senior-to-be Katie, who has decided to play her college softball at Hillsdale.

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