It was only a matter of time before Michael Weber's bat caught up with his arm.
The senior is heating up at the plate and has helped the Pierz Pioneers to a 7-0 record.
Weber finished 7-for-8 with seven RBIs, six runs, two doubles and a triple in a doubleheader sweep of Rockford April 23.
"He was just on," said Pierz head coach David Rocheleau. "He started the season slow, but he's worked on his swing. I think it was a matter of him just thinking too much. We told him to just go up there and swing. He's got such a sound swing that that's all he needs to do."
A poor start for Weber would be a pretty good one for others. The clean-up hitter is batting .444 with 10 runs, 13 RBIs, two doubles, three triples, a home run, two walks and just one strikeout. He owns a .852 slugging percentage.
But there is pressure for Weber to succeed and lead his team far in the playoffs. As a starting quarterback, Weber helped Pierz to the section final. In basketball, the center helped Pierz to the subsection final.
"We expected him to be our leader," said Rocheleau. "Pitching-wise he's pitched in a lot of big games and we expected him to be our ace and lead our staff. Hitting-wise he hit over .404 last year so we expected him to lead us that way, too."
Weber held Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa to four hits and two runs in Pierz's 11-2 Central Minnesota Conference win April 20.
He's 2-0 so far. Through 13 innings, he's allowed three runs, none of which are earned, eight hits and seven walks to go with 16 strikeouts.
"Last year he was 6-1 and I think he might have even picked up a few miles per hour," said Rocheleau. "He's got such good control. Sometimes that gets him into trouble. He tries to hit the corners and be so fine with his placement that he sometimes can go deep into the count. We've told him, sometimes in high school baseball, you just need to throw your curveball over the plate and get the guy out."
When Weber isn't pitching he's playing first base, shortstop or left field. Rocheleau said because Weber is so versatile with his "baseball smarts" he plays all those different positions depending on who's pitching. That allows Pierz to maintain a regular lineup on a game-to-game basis.
Weber is not only a versatile three-sport athlete. He's a Triple-A award winner. With classmate Kaari Jensen, Weber was recognized ay the state boys' basketball tournament in March as the Region 5A male winner.
"He's been just awesome to have in this school and in this community," Rocheleau said. "To have him out there performing it really helps with the younger athletes. He's a great role model. He's active in a lot of different things other than athletics. He represents what we want in a true Pioneer.
"He's had a great senior year. I hope that continues in the spring and he can help take us far into the playoffs."
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Zach Doroff, Pierz, went 2-for-5 with a home run, double and four RBIs against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
Ben Kepner, Pequot Lakes, threw a complete-game shutout and went 6-for-8 with two doubles in two wins over Wadena-Deer Creek. He was 2-3 with a triple and home run against Pine River-Backus.
Alex Jansson, Staples-Motley, was 7-for-9 with a double, triple and three RBIs in two wins over Crosby-Ironton.
Ben Hanowski, Little Falls, went 3-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs against Melrose.
Golf: Nick Forsberg, Staples-Motley, won the Cardinal Invite at the Vintage in Staples with a 72.
Track and field: Wesley Waytashek, Little Falls, won the long and triple jumps at a Central Lakes Conference meet.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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