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AJ Pierzinski enhances First Academy baseball with a “quarterback” mindset – Reading Eagle

Success seems to continue AJ Pierzinski Wherever he goes.

Six years after retiring from Major League Baseball, the same IQ he’s been doing for 19 years is backing another championship-level team in his hometown.

“The catcher will be the best [MLB] Managers and coaches. ” First Academy head coach Scott Grove talked about riding Pierzinski. “You are a quarterback in a baseball field.”

Before the 2020 season, Globe asked Pierzinski if he could help as an assistant coach. Suspended after eight games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TFA (31-1) won the Class 3A State Championship last year in Pierzinski’s first full season as an assistant.

The Royals defeated Windermere Prep 10-0 in Thursday’s final 24-3 this season to win the Class 3A District 9 tournament title. They will host a regional quarterfinal match on Wednesday.

A prominent figure at former Philips High School had his share of the big game — and the moment. He was an integral part of the two playoff runs with the team that drafted him. Minnesota Twins1994.

In his first year at the Chicago White Sox after signing as a free agent in 2005, Pierzinski had a major impact on the team that won the first World Series in 1988.

One of the key moments in the execution of the World Series was Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Anaheim Angels, which was usually a trivial third strike.

The White Sox went down 1-0 in the series, scoring 1: 1 and scoring 2 outs in 9th place. Pierzinski seemed to finish the inning. However, Angels catcher Josh Paul didn’t expect the pitch to hit the soil and began walking towards Dougout when Pierzinski first ran in heads-up play.

Home plate referee Doug Edings allowed the dropped third strike. Pablo Ozuna The pinch ran to Pierzinski, stealing second, and Joe Crede scored a double, giving Socks a 2-1 victory.

He played a victorious play for the winning team. One of the strengths of First Academy is victory, which players can draw from Pierzinski’s valuable resources.

“AJ works with our batters and shares a lot of knowledge with me,” Globe said. “AJ has helped us analyze double cutoffs and relays, bunt defense, pickoffs and rundowns, a two-stroke approach with batters, and whether the pitcher is tilting the pitch … to get a little advantage. What? “

Make up for the lost time

So why would a major league veteran with more than 2,000 career hits agree to be a high school assistant?

“My kids go to the first academy from kindergarten. I’ve always tried to help my son in Little League,” said Pierzinski, referring to TFA freshman catcher Austin. .. “I avoid his travel baseball, but Scott asked if Austin could help me a few years ago when Austin was in JV as a seventh grader.

“I enjoy baseball, but it’s really fun to be around this group of kids. They’re fun, they enjoy baseball, and they enjoy being around each other. . “

Pierzinski became a model “soccer dad” after his playing career. Baseball and volleyball have replaced the football part. His daughter, Ava, is a sophomore at the First Academy, playing volleyball in the fall and beach volleyball in the spring.

“It helps me when I have time to work or travel,” he said. “Ava plays competitive travel volleyball. We went to tournaments in Indianapolis, Omaha, Tampa, Chicago, and she practices an hour away in Melbourne. I always tell my wife her I can’t drive her, so when we don’t have the game, I drive her away.

“I was very fortunate to have been able to play baseball for a long time and earn enough money to support my family. Now I have more time to spend with them. I play baseball. I missed a lot of playing baseball. My daughter was born in 2005 [and Austin was born in 2006] And I retired in 2016. During that 11-year year, eight months, I lost a lot of people. I can’t make up for that, but I have time and I don’t travel much for work, so I want to spend as much time as my kids. I love children and enjoy being part of their lives. “

Austin appreciates Dad being part of TFA baseball in one or more ways.

“It’s nice to have a dad, but it’s hard to be a coach and dad,” he said. “I love him here. He definitely helped our pitchers and catchers pitch calls and swings.”

All TFA players are well aware of assistant coaches, as Pierzinski’s career highlights are readily available on Google and YouTube. Directly experiencing veteran knowledge is another story.

“AJ was for me — and when I say this I feel like I can speak for others — a great person to respect.” TFA Senior Greg Petai, UCF Recruit A person who hits .462 with 7 home runs and 27 RBIs. “He’s one of the reasons this year is so successful for me because we always talk after most at bats and he always gives good input.”

Pierzinski’s ability to handle pitchers in his career at MLB was impressive.He was a catcher when the White Sox set a record in four consecutive complete games. 2005 ALCS He is one of the 22 catchers in MLB history who caught the perfect game (Philip Humber, 2012).

Pierzinski is also contributing to the development of TFA pitchers.

“AJ has been a great help to the team and myself,” he said. Virginia Tech New Employee, Senior Isaac Sewell ERA is 1.38 and 9-1. “In last year’s postseason run, he often sat down with me and others about his approach and work.

“In the semi-finals [Jacksonville] Balls, I was thinking too much about how to pitch, but he simplified it and got 9 outs. As pitchers, we need to upset the batter’s timing, and AJ helps to understand how to upset the batter’s balance and more intentionally put himself in the best position to succeed. I did. “

From agitator to arbitrator

Pierzinski was considered an agitator and edgy as a player. Ozzie Guillén, manager of his White Sox, once said: If you play with him, you hate him a little. “

The most famous example is when Pierzinski ran through Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on May 20, 2006 to score. Pierzinski slammed his home plate and was beaten on his face before grabbing his helmet from the ground near Barrett.

Pierzinski resembled another Chicago athlete, Dennis Rodman, who played for the NBA’s Bulls between 1995 and 1998 after spending seven years in his fierce rival Detroit. Pierzinski was hated when he was with his division’s rival Twins, but that changed when he played on the South Side.

Globe was familiar with his reputation before asking him to join the coaching staff.

“I knew that, but he was a great person for us,” said Globe, a minor who played professional baseball for nine years after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1987. We don’t agree with everything, but we sit and get together to improve our team. The great thing about baseball is that there are different ways to win. “

Who knew that an agitator could be an arbitrator?

“Scott is great. I trust him as a coach,” Pierzinski said. “You don’t intend to agree 100% with anyone, but if you disagree, discuss it and go to the same page. If you don’t believe what the coach is doing throughout the program, I Does not help. “

And Pierzynski is serious about programs, schools and communities. He was Dr. Phillips’ Jeonju baseball player, but his wife, Lisa, went to TFA through elementary school before meeting at DP. His family attends the First Baptist Church in Orlando, which founded TFA on campus in 1986.

Pierzinski misses practice and some games because of him FoxSports MLB Analyst Jobs And he takes Ava to the volleyball promise, but he remains connected from a distance.

“I do something, but I’m watching [TFA] I play games on my cell phone and live and die on every pitch, “he said. “I toured and fell in love with it. People can believe whatever they want to believe, but there is something about having a Christ-centered school. Children are moms and dads. I think we need a bigger answer than that.

“TFA promotes a very equal and inclusive environment where all the students are mixed. This is important to me. When you go out into the real world, you are around people different from you. , You need to be able to handle all situations. “

With Pierzinski in the Doug Out, the Royals can handle any situation.

This report is Orlandosentinel.com.. You can email Buddy Collings in the Varsity Content Editor at the following address: bcollings@orlandosentinel.com..

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AJ Pierzinski enhances First Academy baseball with a “quarterback” mindset – Reading Eagle

Source link AJ Pierzinski enhances First Academy baseball with a “quarterback” mindset – Reading Eagle

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