Male Area Athlete of the Week: Young nets big games at the plate and mound for Pioneers
Pierz sophomore earns area athlete of the week
Reese Young had a busy week.
The Pierz sophomore went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs against Osakis and then started the next day and struck out 13 against Mora in five innings pitched.
“I just think he is a good young player for us,” Pierz head coach Dylan Pittman said. “We start him off in the leadoff spot and he’s not really looked back. He’s swung the bat well and plays a good shortstop for us and now has pitched in a couple of really big games for us.”
Earlier in the week, Young pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning where he struck out the side against Rush City and Pierz was able to win the game in the bottom half of the seventh.
“I knew the week before I had some tough games, so I had to come back dialed in,” Young said. “I just tried to hit the ball well and play good defense. I told the coach I wanted the ball the last game of the week because my arm felt good and I got it done.”
During his 13-strikeout game against Mora, Young said he was hitting his spots.
“I’m just focused on switching it up a little bit and throwing some offspeed,” he said. “Usually, I just throw a fastball, curveball and occasionally a changeup to throw them off a little bit.”
In four games last week, Young went 5-for-9 with seven walks at the top of Pierz’s lineup. He pitched six innings over two games and recorded 16 strikeouts while earning the win in both games.
“He’s got a good slider and a good fastball,” Pittman said. “His fastball has been really good even early in the year when we were watching him throw bullpen. Then his slider has a pretty tight break on it and he’s throwing strikes and throwing good pitches for us.”
For the season, Young holds a 0.98 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts. He has two wins and one save in five appearances.
“The first game of the year was really big for him. He came in against Wadena, pitched three innings and held down the fort for us in a close ballgame,” Pittman said. “He’s built a lot of confidence through a couple outings and did well Friday.”
Pittman said a couple of seniors helped Young gain confidence on the mound.
“He watches them and plays shortstop behind them and he sees what they are doing and hangs right with them in being one of our top guys,” Pittman said.
At the plate, he’s hit for a .286 average and a .468 on-base percentage with two doubles and seven RBIs.
“It feels really good knowing that I’m doing well on the mound and at the plate,” Young said. “It’s a good feeling because I stay dialed in. Most of the time I’m looking for that first pitch fastball and jump on it right away.”
Pittman added: “He’s got good power to all fields. He’s a fast kid. He played running back and gained a bunch of yards and when he gets on with a walk it can easily turn into a double or triple. That’s the biggest thing and he’s a smart baseball player and knows the ins and outs of stealing bags.”
As a running back last fall, Young was named All-District Mid-State Sub 1 and All-Section 6-3A. He finished with 865 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 123 carries. He caught three passes for 50 yards. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown. He finished with 18 tackles, 0.5 sacks, one interception, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
“He’s a fairly quiet kid, but he leads by example,” Pittman said. “He’s playing hard, keeping base runners on at second. At shortstop, you have to communicate with your team and he does that.”
Young said in the offseason he tried to hit the batting cages a lot and lift more to be ready for the season.
“It’s been fun knowing that I’m doing well with these guys and the upcoming years should be even more fun,” Young said.
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Caden Nelson, Pequot Lakes, pitched a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts against Moose Lake-Willow River.
Eli Miller, Pillager, went 4-for-8 with two triples and a double against Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale.
Golf: Tyler Seeling, Pequot Lakes, won at the Pines at Grand View Lodge with a 75
Highlights: He tallied 13 strikeouts against Mora and went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs against Osakis. He also struck out the side in the win over Rush City.