Gateway: Sports

Hard-throwing Peninsula pitcher Pierce a force for Seahawks

Peninsula pitcher Joseph Pierce pitching early in the first game of the Gig Harbor vs. Peninsula baseball doubleheader at Sehmel Homestead Park April 17.
Peninsula pitcher Joseph Pierce pitching early in the first game of the Gig Harbor vs. Peninsula baseball doubleheader at Sehmel Homestead Park April 17. dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

Hard-throwing right handed junior pitcher Joe Pierce has been a steady presence on the mound for the Peninsula Seahawks this season.

Pierce, who throws a fastball in the high 80s, has been a tough matchup for opposing hitters, carrying a 1.31 earned run average this season for Peninsula (7-8 overall, 4-7 South Sound Conference).

“The offense has lifted me really well,” Pierce said. “I have a lot of support behind me.”

Pierce, who played on the local select Narrows Baseball Club, is moving to the Seattle Stars baseball club this summer.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Pierce said. “It’s a long drive but it’s well worth it.”

Pierce primarily throws a fastball, occasionally mixing a curveball and a change-up. But the fastball is his bread and butter. Opposing hitters know it’s coming, but have trouble connecting.

“I’m able to locate it well, hit my spots,” Pierce said. “When I can really get it to run in on batters, especially righties, it makes it tough.”

Pierce participating in a baseball showcase in Arizona recently, where he caught the attention of some scouts in attendance. He received an offer from Xavier University, a Jesuit university in Cincinnati, Ohio, which competes in the NCAA Division-I Big East conference.

“It was a really good feeling, knowing that all my hard work is paying off.”

The Gig Harbor area has produced some impressive pitching talent recently, including Peninsula grad Garrett Smith (Texas Rio Grande Valley), Gig Harbor’s Matthew Henckel (Gonzaga University) and Patrick Fredrickson (University of Minnesota).

Fredrickson, who has had a stellar freshman season with the Gophers, is someone Pierce played with on Narrows, and has looked up to.

“He’s killing it,” Pierce said. “Just how consistent he is, how serious he gets when he’s on the mound.”

Pierce said he’s working hard on every off day he has, working on his conditioning and fitness and preparing for the next start.

The Seahawks have three league games remaining, and will likely need to win all three of them to sneak into the playoffs.

“We definitely have to win out,” Pierce said.

Peninsula’s offense has sputtered recently, after starting the season hot. The Seahawks have scored just four runs in the past three games.

“Our offense has to get going again,” Pierce said. “Our pitching has been pretty good.”

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