Adams' Multi-Sport Gem Picot Providing Robust Reminder of Value on Diamond

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

May 11, 2023

ROCHESTER HILLS – In a way, it’s ironic for anyone watching Rochester Adams senior Parker Picot thriving and excelling at his best sport right now during the spring.

Greater DetroitThe small twist of irony is that a few months ago during the fall, some felt the same thing while he was playing a different sport.

For any observers of high school sports who follow football and not much else, they likely know all about Picot and how much of an all-around force he was for Adams on the gridiron. He was a lockdown defensive back and a dual-threat quarterback who did just about everything for a Highlanders team that advanced to the Division 1 championship game in 2021 and a Regional Final this past November.

People probably watched and wondered where his future in college football would take him, and for good reason given Central Michigan and University of Massachusetts headlined programs that offered him football scholarships.

But if those same observers are wondering why Picot isn’t going to play college football, all they have to do is watch him play baseball for Adams this spring.

If they do, it’s likely a collective “Oh” would be coming out of their mouths.

No doubt, as good as Picot was at football, he is even better at baseball, and will rightfully pursue that sport going forward after signing with Alabama in November.

“I’ve always loved football,” Picot said. “But I enjoy baseball more.”

Entering a Tuesday game against fellow Oakland County power Lake Orion, Picot owned the career school records for home runs (19) and stolen bases (57).

Playing in a tough league and against a formidable nonconference schedule, Picot was batting .339 with six home runs, 23 RBI and 10 stolen bases this spring hitting primarily out of the No. 2 spot in the Adams lineup.

Picot looks to his third-base coach for signs while at the plate.Also a hard-throwing ace pitcher, Picot was 4-0 and had allowed four earned runs in 19 innings pitched going into Tuesday.

“He’s pretty good at everything,” Adams head coach Jeff Hall said. “He’s solid all the way around. He’s a great center fielder and one of the fastest kids in the country. I think in Chicago, he ran some ridiculous 60-yard dash.”

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that there could be something even greater ahead for Picot in baseball that has nothing to do with college.

“We have about five MLB scouts at every game,” Hall said.

Whether his name is called during July’s Major League Baseball draft remains to be seen, but regardless, Picot will go down as one of Adams’ all-time greatest athletes.

All the battles he has had on the baseball and football fields probably were nothing compared to all the battles he had in the backyard growing up with older brother Nick and twin brother Tait, who also was an invaluable two-player player for Adams in football and was batting close to .400 for the baseball team this spring going into Tuesday.

It didn’t matter if it was Wiffle Ball or tackling drills, the competition was intense enough to where maybe the brothers should have charged admission for neighbors to watch.

“They were pretty intense,” Picot said. “We definitely had fun. A lot of my success comes from there. We just went at it. It was brotherly love and brotherly competition. We had fun.”

Parker and Tait Picot obviously dream of leading Adams baseball to its first MHSAA Finals championship in June before Parker begins his college career at Alabama, or even gets drafted high enough to where it becomes tempting to bypass college altogether.

Assuming Picot eventually winds up in Tuscaloosa, there will be no lobbying Alabama football coach Nick Saban or anyone else on his staff for a walk-on spot on the football team.

Picot couldn’t be more in his passion and element going full-steam ahead in baseball from this point forward.

“It’s nice,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about anything else. I can just focus in and grind on baseball.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Rochester Adams’ Parker Picot comes to the dugout during a game against Lake Orion on May 9. (Middle) Picot looks to his third-base coach for signs while at the plate. (Photos by Keith Dunlap.)

No Runs, No Hits: East Jordan Aces Toss 4 Straight Shutouts, 3 Straight No-Hitters

By Tom Spencer
Special for

May 17, 2024

Playing shortstop this year for East Jordan High School admittedly has become rather boring at times.

Northern Lower PeninsulaThere hasn’t been a whole lot of action at what’s usually the busiest spot in the infield — no matter who is playing it.

Junior Eli Burns knows that better than anyone. He is the Red Devils’ regular shortstop. He also pitches.

Ryder Malpass knows what it’s like to play short this season as well – he’s normally in the spot when Burns is on the mound.

But he also has a feel for how little the shortstop does regularly for the Division 4 No. 16 Red Devils from his usual spot at catcher – receiving behind the plate for a pitching staff averaging almost two strikeouts per inning. 

Just recently, East Jordan put together three straight no-hitters and four straight shutouts.

“It’s good,” Burns said of playing short. “When you have confidence with your pitchers you don’t have to worry about the ball being hit to you that much.”

Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. Malpass, a junior, started the shoutout string himself with a 4-0 win over Bellaire last week, when he earned the win throwing 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts while going 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and RBI. Junior Korbyn Russell closed out the game.

Then Burns started the no-hitter run in the second game that night with Bellaire, a 6-0 Red Devils win. Burns had 10 strikeouts and just a single walk allowed. He also tripled in the game.

This week the no-hitter string continued with 1-0 and 2-0 wins over Boyne City. Russell and senior Lucas Stone threw the Red Devils’ third and fourth no-hitters of the season.

Stone threw a perfect game across six innings. He struck out 12 batters on just 70 pitches and also went 2 for 3 with an RBI against the Ramblers. Russell earned the 1-0 win over Boyne City with 5 1/3 no-hit innings behind 11 strikeouts and with just a lone walk allowed. Stone followed Russell to pick up the save for the Red Devils, now 13-9-1 overall on the season and 6-4 in Lake Michigan Conference play.  

Russell is 6-2 on the season with two saves. Going into Thursday’s game with Charlevoix, he had struck out 92 batters over 42 innings while compiling a 0.86 ERA. Stone is 5-2. Before suffering his second loss of the season to the Rayders, his ERA was 1.17 and he had fanned 38 in 36 innings of work. Burns has racked up 17 strikeouts so far in just over 14 innings.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of something not many teams can do,” Russell said. “We have a special group of pitchers to get the job done.”

Stone credits the Red Devils’ defensive play for the pitching staff’s success.

“Our defense has helped the pitching a lot because they don’t make a lot of errors,” Stone said.  “It makes it a lot easier when you know they are going to make plays behind you.”

Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch.East Jordan came into this week beginning to approach the state records for consecutive shutout innings and games. That ended yesterday in twin bill losses to Division 3 No. 11 Charlevoix. But the Red Devils still can chase the national record of nine no-hit games in a season. (No official record is kept for no-hitters by a Michigan high school team in a season.)

There is also no known record of any East Jordan team racking up three no-hitter wins in a row.

“I don’t think there’s been any stretch with three no-hitters in a row, so that is pretty special,” noted East Jordan coach Adam Grybauskas. “We’re kind of picking up where things were last year and trying to build on last year’s success and make it even better this year.”

The Red Devils captured a Division 4 District championship in 2023 and then a 9-6 Regional Semifinal win over Gaylord St. Mary. The season came to an end in the Regional Final with a 2-0 loss to Painsdale Jeffers.

Russel, Stones and Burns were on the pitching staff last year as East Jordan made that run. The Red Devils will host the District tournament this year as familiar opponents Bellaire, Central Lake and Ellsworth will vie to stop East Jordan’s attempt at repeating as champion. The doubleheader loss to undefeated Charlevoix ended the Red Devils’ hopes of sharing the LMC title with the Rayders.

“I think we’ve played a little bit better competition this year,’ Grybauskas said.  “Our focus this year is taking each doubleheader at a time, and try to get better each week.

“It’s really been game by game and week to week,” he continued. “You’re always looking to do better than last year so obviously that will be something we’ll talk about in the future.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) East Jordan’s Lucas Stone winds up during a game. (Middle) Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. (Below) Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch. (Photos courtesy of the East Jordan athletic department.)