Former champion finds himself back in cranberry

By Benjamin Shinault

Jake Barbiere has been the epitome of consistency since he first stepped on the diamond for Rider baseball.

Barbiere joined Rider baseball back in 2018 and was an immediate contributor for the Broncs. He started in 35 games in his freshman season, primarily as a third baseman and racked up 12 RBIs at the plate.

Fast-forward five years, and Barbiere added yet another milestone to his already decorated Rider legacy: becoming a volunteer assistant coach for the upcoming baseball season.

“As an upperclassman on the team the past two years, I tried as much as possible to be a middleman between the coaches and some of the new players to help mature them but show them I have their backs,” said Barbiere.

Over Barbiere’s time at Rider, he built a strong relationship with both the coaches and players, which will benefit him as an assistant coach.

“You build relationships with these guys and they become family, and I want the guys on this team to be successful and help them achieve that however I can,” said Barbiere.

Whether it’s on the gridiron, on the court or in this case, on the diamond, there is always a different type of coach — one that will get in your face or one that will take a more subtle approach. Barbiere wants to be an advocate for each player.

“I’d say I’m definitely a player’s coach. I did play with a lot of these guys the past few years, so I like viewing myself as a middleman for the coaches and players,” said Barbiere.

During his collegiate career, Barbiere played at an elite level. Over his five-year playing career, he registered 15 multi-hit games, batted a team leading .314 average and appeared in two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships, winning one in 2021.

“[Barbiere is] very versatile as a defensive player, and a consistent hitter who could hit anywhere in the lineup,” said Head Coach Barry Davis.

Just as Barbiere was versatile while playing, he also plans to be so within the coaching staff.

“He will assist in several areas. He will be our first base coach, coach the outfielders and assist with the infielders and hitters,” said Davis.

Barbiere, while playing for the Broncs, made the MAAC All-Academic team three times and made the MAAC All-Tournament team in 2021 when Rider won the title. He finished his playing career with 114 hits, 46 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and four home runs.

Arguably most impressive was Barbiere’s impact as a teammate, always acting as a guiding, uplifting force in the dugout.

“[Jake] is always picking up players when they are having a bad day at the plate or in the field,” said senior first baseman Luke Lesch. “He is always trying to make other people around him better.”

With an opportunity to pass down his accumulated wisdom, Barbiere aims to lift his unique group of former teammates and promising freshmen to another MAAC Championship.

“At the end of the day, I was in their shoes the past five years dealing with injuries with all the highs and all the lows that come in baseball,” said Barbiere. “I want them to understand that there’s a lot more to life than just baseball and not only help them become better players on the field but become better people off of it and that they know I’m always there for them.”

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