Athletes of the week

  • Updated: May 7, 2012 - 11:38 PM

Josh Pierce, Minneapolis Washburn baseball

JOSH PIERCE

Minneapolis Washburn, baseball

Josh Pierce is having a blast.

Last week, the senior lefthander pitched 13 shutout innings as the Minneapolis Conference-leading Millers beat Southwest 2-0 and Minnehaha Academy 5-1 (he pitched six innings before being removed before the seventh).

Pierce, who struck out 17 and walked only two, improved to a metro-leading 6-0 on the season with a 0.68 ERA. Washburn's fortunes have been just as good. The Millers are 11-0 and are No. 11 -- and rising -- in the Class 2A state poll.

"We have such good chemistry," Pierce said. "Our offense has picked it up and is scoring runs early and we're getting leads. And that's a huge part of my pitching, knowing the offense will have my back."

Not having to be perfect has bred confidence in Pierce. He said a large part of his success has been his willingness to take chances, regardless of the count.

"I've worked really hard on my curve ball and being able to throw it for a strike whenever I want," he said. "This year I'm throwing it on different counts, like 2-1 or even 3-2, which I wouldn't have done before."

It's been more than a decade since Washburn has gone so late into a season without a loss. Pierce said he's just enjoying the ride.

"This is the most fun I've ever had playing baseball," he said.

DANA ALMQUIST

Stillwater, girls' lacrosse

The Ponies broke out of a two-game slump by scoring 56 goals in three victories. Almquist, a junior forward, set the pace, scoring 19 goals, including eight in a 15-5 rout of Mahtomedi.

MATT BLAESER

Champlin Park, boys' lacrosse

Rebels coach Eric Borer called Blaeser's week "one of the best" he's ever seen. In four victories, the senior attackman had 12 goals and nine assists and became the first player in team history to top 100 career points.

KATIE HERRON

Champlin Park, softball

The senior went 5-1 for the week with three shutouts: a no-hitter (1-0 over Andover), a one-hitter and a two-hitter. She struck out 61 batters in six games.

MCKENZIE JOHNSON

Eden Prairie, girls' lacrosse

The junior nearly pulled off the rare feat of back-to-back shutouts. She made seven saves in a 19-1 victory over Wayzata and blanked Hopkins 19-0, the second time she has shut out the Royals this season.

TAYLOR LEMAY

East Ridge, softball

LeMay's offensive production helped the Raptors break a three-game losing streak. In four games, the senior catcher went 9-for-14 with two homers, a 1.28 slugging percentage, three RBI and four runs.

BLAKE MOLITOR

West Lutheran, baseball

The senior had two hits in each of three victories for the Warriors last week, giving him seven two-hit games in a row. For the season, he's hitting .579 with five home runs and 21 RBI.

JIM PAULSEN

  • related content

  • Dana Almquist, Stillwater girls' lacrosse

  • Matt Blaeser, Champlin Park boys' lacrosse

  • Katie Herron, Champlin Park softball

  • McKenzie Johnson, Eden Prairie girls' lacrosse

  • Taylor LeMay, East Ridge softball

  • Blake Molitor, West Lutheran baseball

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