Brotherly Bond between player and coach

Record-Eagle/Mike KrebsTraverse City Pit Spitters’ Chris Faust at bat on May 28 at Pit Spitters Park.

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Valley State sophomore Christian Faust wasn’t a part of the original plan for the Pit Spitters.

When head coach Josh Rebandt started recruiting for this summer, roster spots began to fill and Faust nearly slipped through his fingers.

Faust’s talents may have been on display somewhere else had it not been for a special connection between the two.

Rebandt graduated from Birmingham Brother Rice high school in 2007 and still keeps close contact with his high school coach Bob Riker. Faust played for Riker at Brother Rice in 2018 and only needed a phone call to peak Rebandt’s interest.

“I respect what my high school coach has to say,” Rebandt said. “He is not a guy who has any tricks up his sleeve. He had a very high recommendation for Christian in terms of character, being a team guy and great work ethic.”

Riker’s recommendation holds a lot of weight. He played college baseball at Central Michigan before playing minor league baseball with the Detroit Tigers and he is in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Rebandt also saw Faust in competition during the spring while coaching Davenport. Faust even hit a home run for GVSU against the Panthers.

The infielder is a jack of all trades, according to Riker. Rebandt said that he has seen the same things out of Faust.

“Riker said that he is a true defender and that has really shown through,” Rebandt said. “Christian is a very versatile player who can play first, second, short or third and I even bet he could chase down fly balls if we put him in the outfield. He is a very athletic kid. All of the things Riker said have held true.”

And although he hasn’t had the chance to showcase it this season, pitching is also among his skill set.

Faust is listed on the roster as an infielder-pitcher combo, weighing in at 180 pounds and standing 6-feet tall.

This added yet another reason for Rebandt to bring on the young gun.

“Why is he a guy I wanted to have in Traverse City? I knew that he can pitch as well,” Rebandt said. “This season we are going to have a few nights when we are going to need our position players to eat up some innings but I think he can provide more than that.

“Christian fits great in the Northwoods League because of his versatility around the infield — he can play multiple positions. I think that is really going to benefit our season with keeping guys fresh, he is going to be there to help.”

Faust and Rebandt agreed that the most important thing for the utility player this summer is to get consistent at-bats — something that shouldn’t be an issue with 72 games in 76 days.

“I feel like it is all about development and getting consistent at-bats and play time,” Faust said.

No. 22 should be all over the field for the Pit Spitters this summer and was described as a grinder by Rebandt.

This is Faust’s first season playing summer collegiate baseball and he felt that Traverse City was the perfect fit, after all, his family has a vacation home in the area and said TC feels like a second home.

“I had this opportunity and thought it was a perfect fit,” he said. “I am really excited to see how this summer plays out. Being on the first Pit Spitters teams brings nothing but excitement and energy.

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