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"I hit a good fastball, right down the middle," said Pierce, who is Park's catcher. "It felt good off the bat, and the guys on the bench thought it was gone."
Lueck and Pierce started their townball careers with the Eden Prairie team, which is now defunct. They are happy to be playing with St. Louis Park.
"We helped start the tradition," said Pierce. "Mike is a great pitcher, and I love catching him. He can throw with the best of them."
of the players who keyed last weekend's success are former Eden Prairie High teammates Mike Lueck and Joe Pierce.
EP buddies spark SLP state amateur wins
Lueck was a starting pitcher during his collegiate years at the University of North Dakota. He had a one year shot in the pros with the Lake County Fielders in Zion, Ill. before returning to the amateur ranks.
"We are fortunate to have Chris Duda as a coach, friend and player," said Pierce. "He cares about the guys, he cares about the team and he loves baseball more than anyone I've ever met."
It was Pierce who got the game ball in St. Nike Zoom Kd 9 Black
Of course, Lueck and Pierce would love to win another state championship, and they have a chance to do it this summer. Park is loaded with solid veterans such as player/coach Chris Duda, Mike Arlt, Pat Fix, Dave Lindstrom, Matt Paulsen and Casey Garven. The pitching staff is deep with Fuller, Jensen, Lueck, Rian Heaslip, John Gallice and Gabe Eikum leading the way. Young players Jimmy Heck, Ryan Froom and Parker Stennes have made a smooth transition from high school ball to Class A amateur ball.
The ball landed on the other side of the fence, 370 feet from the point of impact. As Pierce circled the bases, fans in the grandstand gave the former Augsburg College player a standing ovation.
Louis Park's victory over Lyons Pub 6 5 in the first round Aug. 10. His home run over the left center field fence was the margin of victory.
He struck out the first man he faced with fastballs, and then threw a curve for a double play ball to end the game.
The second win for Park was 9 5 over St. Paul's Blue Package Delivery on Aug. 11. Pete Fuller pitched six solid innings and left with the score 9 1. After a few pitching changes, Park found itself in a battle, and with the score 9 5 in the bottom of the ninth, Lueck was summoned to pitch out of a bases loaded jam.
Pierce said he and Lueck go back a long way to when they were teammates on Eden Prairie High's first state championship team in 2004.
He performed well in that dual role last weekend, as he picked up a save in each game, after coming in from shortstop.
"We have a good group of guys who understand the game," said Lueck. "It is great to be able to throw to Joe again. He and I are almost always on the same page, but I still shake him off once in a while."
Catcher Joe Pierce (left) congratulates his friend and teammate, Mike Lueck, after Lueck earns the save in a 6 5 victory over Lyons Pub in the first game Nike Zoom Generation
Had it not been for two arm surgeries, Lueck, 27, might still be throwing 90 plus and might have played more than one season of professional baseball. When he was reinstated in the amateur ranks, it was clear to him that his days as a starting pitcher were over. In addition to being Park's closer, he is also the starting shortstop.
Later in the game, Lueck came to the mound and closed out a victory for Park starter George Jensen. Lyons Pub had trouble catching up with Lueck's 88 mile per hour fastball.
This weekend, the Park squad (34 17) will have the chance to win the third state championship in franchise history. Park won state championships with some of the same nucleus it still has in 2002 and 2008.
of the State Class A Amateur Baseball Tournament at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington. (Sun Sailor staff photo by John Sherman)
St. Louis Park advanced to the final four of the State Nike Lebron 14 Concept Class A Baseball Tournament with a pair of wins last weekend.
"When I come in, I just want to attack the zone," he said. "My strategy is get ahead in the count and finish them off."
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