Male Area Athlete of the Week: Barclay blasts 2 grand slams for Pierz last week

Pierz junior eanrs area athlete of the week

Max Barclay
Max Barlcay

It would be hard to find a hitter hotter than Max Barclay.

The Pierz junior launched two grand slams last week and finished with a total of 16 RBIs across two games for the Pioneers.

Barclay went 3-for-5 with a grand slam, double and eight RBIs in the Pioneers’ 14-7 win against Little Falls. He followed it with a two-hit performance which included a grand slam and eight RBIs in a 13-10 win against Albany.

“There were always runners on base when I was up which was nice,” Barclay said. “My hitting coach has been working me hard to go to right field and I’ve been trying to go there instead of just hitting home runs. It just went in my favor I guess.”

Despite not trying to hit home runs, Barclay acknowledged that he knows he can hit them.


“I always knew I could hit them, but when I keep trying to, that's when I don’t,” he said. “My coach has been telling me to trust my approach to right field and things will work out and he’s been right.”

Through five games this year, Barclay has driven in 26 runs, which is just two off the school record for Pierz which was set by Lane Girtz in 2016.

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He’s posted an .727 batting average with a 1.545 slugging and a 2.26 OPS.

“Max is just a super humble kid and someone who you are always rooting for,” Pierz head coach Dylan Pittman said. “He’s a super happy-go-lucky kid and he wants like heck to win all the time. He’s a baseball guy and loves the game, like truly, loves the game of baseball and always has a smile on his face when he’s playing ball.”

Barclay added: “Last year, I only had 17 RBIs and I already have that. This year I’ve just really dedicated my approach of going to right field and try not to do too much. And it’s been working, just myself, my hands and my coaches.”

Barclay plays third base and is a pitcher for the Pioneers. He appeared in the game last week against Albany and struck out four in five innings pitched.

“It was a rainy game so that was tough,” Barclay said. “I just try to prove to my coach that I can do it, so he trusts me. The mindsets are pretty similar. In both hitting and pitching, I have the mindset of ‘This guy is not going to beat me’ and I can beat anyone who I am against. Coach calls it the ‘Bulldog mentality’ I feel like that’s what I kind of have.”

Pierz’s lone senior on the baseball team is Kirby Fischer, who hits in front of Barclay. Last week, Fischer tallied four hits against Albany and reached base four times against Little Falls which helped set the table for Barclay to get his RBIs.


“You have to give credit to all the guys getting on base, too,” Pittman said. “We’ve had a couple of really good games to start the year. This type of pace probably isn’t sustainable, but it doesn’t need to be like that. Just go out there and do your best to get on base. Fischer has been hitting for a high average and has walked a lot and bats right in front of Max.”

Barclay added: “I love hitting in those moments with runners on base. It’s something I like to do and it’s awesome guys are getting on. It’s something I hope we continue to do and hopefully we can get it up.”

As of now, Barclay’s confidence is through the roof.

“When I was younger and went 0-for-1 on the day, I would not get a hit the rest of the game because I would be in my own head,” he said. “First game of the season I started 0-for-2 and I just relaxed and told myself I could still do it. Getting hot has been nice, but I just try to keep my head in it and my approach.”

Pittman added: “The stars have aligned for him the first few games and we hope it just continues. It’s natural for him to be loose and confident at the plate. He’s not a serious kid in the box that gets super mad. That’s his personality and anytime you are hitting the ball the way he is you are going to have a pretty smile on your face.”

Other notable performances:
Baseball: Carter Gwost, Little Falls, 3-for-3 with a home run against Willmar. He went 2-3 with a double and two RBIs against Foley.
Conner Quale, Pequot Lakes, 4-for-6 with five runs scored and four RBIs in a doubleheader for Aitkin.
Track and Field: Remington Converse, Staples-Motley, won the 100- and 200-meter dash to help the Cardinal boys get first place in the Pillager event.
Golf: Cole Woods, Wadena-Deer Creek, won the Mid-Minn Meet at Whitetail Run Golf Course.
Carter White, Staples-Motley, won the Cardinal Invite at The Vintage at Staples.

Max Barclay

Year: Junior
School: Pierz
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher/third baseman
Highlights: Max Barclay, Pierz, went 3-for-5 with a home run, double and eight RBIs against Little Falls. He also launched a home run against Albany with eight RBIs.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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