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May 19, 2014

Former Groves baseball player, Harms, now part of NCAA roster

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Pictured is Wayne State University and former Birmingham Groves baseball player Griffin Harms, who was selected as a second team All-GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) player.

Back when he was a student at Birmingham Groves, Griffin Harms chose to play multiple sports.

But his junior year, Harms said that he made a decision that if he wanted to play in college, baseball gave him his “best shot” to do it.

Given that Harms went on to earn a roster spot with Wayne State University, he may have been on to something. And aside from just earning a position with the team, Harms, who is an outfielder for the Warriors, has done something with the opportunity he has been given, as evidenced by being selected as a second-team All-GLIAC player in his redshirt freshman season.

“It’s a big honor to get recognition like that as a freshman,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m most happy about the fact that I can contribute this year to my team.”

Although he may be early into his collegiate career, it isn’t too soon for Harms, who was a pitcher and outfielder for Groves, to have learned a valuable life lesson, as at Wayne State he has been taught that individual results are most likely to come “when you play for your team and focus on winning.”

He wouldn’t mind that lesson paying dividends for him and his teammates, as he has a big goal he would like to accomplish before graduating.

“I’m hoping that while I’m here, hopefully this year, we can give the program its first world series berth,” said Harms, who cited extra work and attention to detail as a couple of the keys to coming as far as he has. “That’s probably the biggest goal. Aside from that, keep growing as a player, and hopefully, get a shot at the next level someday.”

Harms’ interest in athletics shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as his dad, Bruce, played football for Michigan State University before eventually moving on to play in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.

Harms acknowledged the support he has received from his family and coaches, including Groves head coach Jim Crosby and pitching coach Phil Roy. Wayne State coaches Ryan Kelley (head coach), Aaron Hepner (assistant coach/recruiting coordinator) and John DiLaura (volunteer assistant coach), and Joe Neal, who helped train him in high school, are others Harms cited as sources of support.

Crosby recalled Harms’ improvement from his junior to senior season at Groves.

“He was a kid who really came on,” he said. “His junior year, he was a good player, but his senior, a very good player. He ended up doing a lot of good things for us, ended up being one of our top two pitchers. Had a very good season for us — one of our leading hitters. Very good kid. He was excellent for us.”

While Harms said he is excited about the potential of “how much I can grow as a player and how much we can grow as a team,” in regards to his remaining eligibility with Wayne State, a potential opportunity hasn’t escaped his attention, either.

“Any baseball’s player’s dream is to make it to the Major Leagues someday,” said. “That’s a long shot for most people, but I’m hoping to get a shot someday and show some people what I can do.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.