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Oliver Service is a three-sport star joining Texas baseball
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's Oliver Service bats against Traverse City St. Francis in the MHSAA Division 3 title game on June 19, 2021 at McLane Stadium in East Lansing. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services)

Oliver Service is a three-sport star joining Texas baseball

DETROIT (BVM) – Oliver Service, a Texas baseball commit, has been in the spotlight since before he was a teenager.

During the 2018 Little League World Series (LLWS), he scored the game-winning run for Team Michigan to beat Team Iowa. On his 13th birthday just two days later, the future Longhorn launched a two-run home run to left field in front of a crowd fit for Big 12 baseball.

For Service, it was an experience that helped shape his bright future in the sport.

“In the moment, you don’t even realize how big it is and you’re kind of just going through the motions,” Service said of his LLWS experience. “But after the game is over, you see yourself on TV and realize how many people were actually there, it all starts to sink in, like, that really just happened.

“I was also like 12 years old at the time so I didn’t really know how big it was but looking back, honestly, those couple moments kind of shaped my baseball career to what it is today.”

Service’s baseball career has been in ascension since his LLWS debut, but the Detroit native is too talented to be confined to just one sport. A three-sport athlete at University Liggett High School, Service plays football in the fall, hockey in the winter and baseball all year round.

A 198-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance from Service on the gridiron back in October is a good indication of his elite athleticism. He even became the first player in school history to record a kick return TD, punt return TD, defensive TD and offensive TD all in the same game.

Meanwhile, his hat trick on the ice in early March crystallizes his freakish ability.

Service admits that playing three sports at a high level is a challenge, but the benefits of being versatile and well-rounded aren’t lost on him.

“It’s definitely a grind,” Service said of juggling three sports. “It’s not easy to balance but it’s only preparing me for what I have next in store. I think it’s a good thing that I’m doing it and it keeps me balanced, not focusing completely on one sport.

“Being able to do multiple things at once has really helped me with my athleticism and being able to do different movements. It also makes me less susceptible to injury I feel. Being a three-sport athlete, I think more people should do it. You just have to have the right mindset to want to do it.”

As talented as Service is, it just might be that mindset that sets him apart from other elite high school baseball players around the state and country.

A three-year baseball starter for Liggett, Service helped lead the Knights to a 2021 Division 3 state title before being named an all-state player last year. The 6-foot, 190-pound catcher batted .410 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs in 2022 (numbers include his travel season with Little Caesar Baseball).

It’s part of the reason Service is a top 10 player in Michigan’s Class of 2023, according to Perfect Game, and his high IQ behind the plate makes him a pitcher’s dream.

“The best part about it (playing catcher) is being able to make my teammates look good, especially the pitcher,” Service said. “The pitcher can be having a rough day but that’s my job to go out there and let him know that it’s just me and you, have some fun, you know, help him kind of find control of the game.

“That leadership role as a catcher is what makes catching so fun to me.”

While Service can lead and excel in just about any sport he tries, there’s just something different about baseball for him. It’s arguably the most difficult sport to master and the Liggett senior is enamored by it.

“Most people see baseball as kind of a slow-paced, boring game to watch, but for me, honestly, every minute on the field is just fun,” Service said. “Especially me being a catcher, I love every moment of it. Even the highs and the lows, I’m here for it all because no matter what happens, I’m going to love this game.

“Baseball isn’t easy, that’s for sure, but no matter what happens, I stick with it and I haven’t been drawn away from it either. The love of the game just drives me and drives me and drives me like no other.”

Service will bring his love for the game to Austin after he committed to the University of Texas last January. The future Longhorn said he visited a handful of schools but the Texas coaching staff and its communication sold him on the program.

The conversations between Service and Texas head coach David Pierce’s staff aren’t even always about baseball. Sometimes they’re about football, hockey and everything in between. Service has already felt the love from his future coaching staff and the fanbase that’ll cheer him on Austin.

Longhorn fans have made it clear via Twitter how happy they are to have Service committed to Texas, and he’s ready to repay the favor with some hardwood.

“My goal is to win a national championship (at Texas),” Service said. “From the day I step foot on campus, that’s my goal. Just grind it out, do whatever I can to help the team make it and win.”

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