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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pierson’s intensity sets tone for Silver Knights

Looking for a baseball player? A true
baseball player?

Then look no
further than Nashua Silver Knights
shortstop Michael Pierson. ...

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Looking for a baseball player? A true
baseball player?

Then look no
further than Nashua Silver Knights
shortstop Michael Pierson.

Pierson lives, eats, sleeps, breathes the game. The son of a coach, he probably has a future doing just that. But for now, he’ll take his intensity and appreciation for the game and continue to turn those into assets for the Silver Knights as they make their playoff push in the final week of the Futures Collegiate League regular season.

“He’s an extremely intelligent baseball player,” Silver Knights manager Ted Currle said. “He’s the son of a baseball coach, he’s a student of the game, and he doesn’t make mental errors, that’s for sure.”

He’s been one of the team’s most consistent players this season, an FCBL All-Star currently hitting .317 in the No. 2 hole in the Knights lineup. He began the year at second base but after Quin Whalberg suffered a season-ending injury, Pierson took over at shortstop.

And somehow he’s managed to stay consistent. How?

“I’ve got to say it’s the amount of time and effort I put into hitting,” Pierson said. “It’s going to have its ups and downs, everyone knows that. It’s baseball. But one thing I’ve tried to improve on this summer is try to deal with adversity, take the 0-for-4 days, be a little bit better with those and not be too hard on myself.”

It’s worked, because Pierson has been a steady .300 hitter throughout the season, with 14 doubles, a homer and 24 RBIs. He was second at last look on the team in runs scored with 35, three behind leadoff hitter Matt Sanchez, giving the Silver Knights a solid one-two punch at the top of the lineup. Not surprisingly, he’s second behind Sanchez in walks too with 27 (Sanchez had 38 going into the week).

“He’s got a great approach at the plate,” Currle said. “He’s a really smart hitter, and he’s got tools, too. That’s what makes him a good player.”

Pierson hails from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., an area which of course breeds ballplayers. He will be a senior this fall at Appalachian State, certainly a far cry from the Sunshine State.

“I got recruited there the summer after my junior year going into senior year (of high school),” Pierson said. “It’s a great fit for me there, I love it there. The weather’s a little cold but it’s good.”

Pierson’s college coaches suggested the FCBL and possibly Nashua as a landing spot and the Silver Knights jumped at the chance to get him. And he’s glad they did.

“I got the chance to play up here and it was a good decision,” he said. “I like it up here.”

He gives a lot of his hitting success to his dad, Glen Pierson, who coached him all throughout high school, Pinecrest School, a private institution in Lauderdale

“All the pitches and all the BP’s thrown me,” he said. “That’s a big thing. And just the mentality of being a baseball player that I’ve worked on through all the years.

“I’ve always loved it, grew up with it with my Dad being a coach and everything. Baseball’s always been my passion.”

Pierson said it was an “up and down” experience playing for his father, who was in town recently to watch his son play.

“He was very hard on me, which had its ups and downs,” Pierson said. “But he pushed me to be the best player I can be, which I can only thank him for now.”

Pierson is so intense, hates to lose, so is this fun for him?

“It’s definitely fun,” he said. “You play for fun, but you also play to be a competitor, and play to win. You play this game, you have to remember it’s a game. I definitely do it for the fun of it and for the passion of it.”

Which is why Pierson, a marketing major in college, wants to take the game to another level, beyond college.

Currle thinks this move to shortstop may open the door to him playing there at Appalachian his senior season after playing second previously.

“He might bump over there, you never know,” Currle said. “But he’s more than capable of doing it, that’s for sure.”

With his consistent approach, who would bet against a fine baseball future?

“Consistency’s hard to find in baseball,” he said. “I guess just try to find a consistent routine, and do my best to try to get my work in every day and give myself the best chance to be successful in the field.”