The aspiring pro baseball pitcher grew up in the central German city, where he was raised by his mother; a doctor. His father served in the U.S. Army.
Pierre said others find it strange that he developed a passion for the American sport of baseball in the middle of a soccer-mad European country with four World Cup titles.
“I started playing when I was 11 years old. I first learned about baseball through movies like ‘Hardball’ and the ‘The Bad News Bears.’ In Germany everyone plays soccer and I wanted to be different,” he said.
Soon after discovering America’s pastime, Pierre’s mother signed him up to play for the Frankfurt Eagles club team. When he got older he decided the best way to develop his skills would be to play in the United States.
“I like baseball because it’s more challenging than soccer in my eyes. It’s harder to play. You have to be more focused on everything around you. It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination. The other thing I like about it is that there are no tie games and it can go on longer than 90 minutes.”
In September 2013, Pierre moved to California and began attending Westchester High School where he played junior varsity. During that time a family friend introduced him to Centennial High’s baseball coach Gerald Pickens, who convinced him to hone his talents in Compton. Pickens welcomed him into his home and in time he became a father figure to Pierre.
“I like the way Mr. Pickens coaches and how he manages the team at Centennial. He’s a great coach. He wants me to succeed and it means a lot to me that he brought me in. He’s kind of like my dad. He always watches over me. He’s all I’ve got here. My mom is back in Germany,” he said.
Pickens said he never hesitated to welcome Pierre into his family.
“It might sound corny but I think it’s my calling to help people in any way I can,” he noted. “Pierre’s been living with me for a year and a half. It was rough at first but we adjusted and now we have a father-son relationship.”
He also praised Pierre’s work ethic and commitment to academic achievement.
“He’s a good student and can be a professional at most anything he chooses to do. There’s a level of work I expect all of my players to achieve. He thought it would be easy but it wasn’t. He subsequently came around and became our best pitcher this year.”
Pierre said that besides the support he received from his coach, Centennial High School proved to be a welcoming learning environment that enabled him to be accepted into Cal State LA, where he plans to major in either nursing or criminal justice while also trying out for the college’s baseball team.
“What most people might hear about Compton or my high school is the complete opposite. Compton is a beautiful city. There are a lot of nice people here who want to help you,” he said. “Centennial is a great school. The teachers are ready to help. My counselor Ms. Moore was always motivating me to do well in school so I could go to college.”
For Pierre, who currently plays for Compton’s local CBATS baseball team, his time at Centennial High School will always stay with him and push him to succeed.
“I’ll always remember it. I will miss my teammates. We were like brothers, like family. If anyone had a problem we’d let each other know we were on their side,” he said. “Now I want to try to get to the next level in baseball.”