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Pierson pounding out hits for Mitchell

Mitchell’s Dylanger Pierson catches a throw from the outfield during a game against Brookings on April 10 at Cadwell Park. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

Mitchell High School senior Dylanger Pierson admits it was intimidating when his name was called to be in Mitchell Post 18 Legion team’s lineup for the first time last summer.

Then a junior coming off his first spring season on varsity, Pierson knew he wanted to plant himself in the lineup for good.

Pierson played in 44 games during the Legion season, hitting .305 with 10 doubles and 27 RBIs to firmly entrench himself in the middle of the Post 18 lineup. The season culminated for Pierson with a 2-for-2 performance against Rapid City Post 22 in the State A Legion tournament, where he earned the big stick award for having the best batting average at the tournament.

Pierson found his confidence and it has carried into the 2014 spring baseball season for Mitchell.

“In the middle of the summer I started to realize that we needed another power hitter to go with Josh and Jared Schmidt, going back-to-back in our Legion lineup,” Pierson said. “Coach (Luke) Norden gave me a chance and I proved myself by showing my abilities at the plate. It was a little scary because it was my first year, but I was really comfortable within the first week of coach letting me have some at-bats.”

This season, Pierson is a mainstay in the cleanup spot for the Kernels. He is leading the Kernels in virtually every major offensive category. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound first baseman/designated hitter has 19 RBIs, one home run and four doubles in 14 games. Pierson is also hitting .416 and has a .500 on-base percentage.

“I have been fortunate to be blessed with my natural power and I am able to get some RBIs and get on base,” Pierson said. “When I am at the plate, I have a certain mentality where I wait for my pitch and I take a hack at it. From last year to this year, I can recognize the pitch earlier. I know when to start my swing and when to load.”

Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden is happy with the progression Pierson has made and said the senior has continued to improve and get better each day.

“Ever since the beginning of last year when I first started coaching him, he has progressively gotten better and better,” Norden said. “When he first started last year, he was swinging a lot with just his hands, but now he is using his whole body. He has spent a lot of time hitting in the cage to get to where he is right now and hopefully he continues to hit well going into college.”

Pierson is headed to Dakota Wesleyan University where he will play for the Tiger baseball team next spring. In preparation for that, Pierson spent time hitting in the batting cage with DWU head baseball coach Steve Gust and assistant coach Kevin Nunn.

“I am very happy and excited to be attending DWU,” Pierson said. “From what I have heard from them, they have big plans for me and I have big plans as well because I still have to prove myself.”