by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
Brandon Meyer has been smitten with baseball since early childhood. The Elk River senior has collected tons of baseball cards over the years, now neatly bundled in his room. Baseball games and baseball talk shows are his favorite TV fare.
Asked if there was any place he’d like to visit, he picked Puerto Rico.
“I’ve heard baseball is like a religion there,” he explained. “They dance on the top of the dugout and have bands playing and everything.”
Meyer concentrates on one sport and plays it even in the winter, traveling south and west for tournaments with the Minnesota Blizzard.
A fourth-year starter, he hit .400 and made all-conference last year, a key component as the Elks posted their first winning record (15-5) since 2004. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound infielder has helped them get off to another good start this year (4-2).
“Brandon eats and sleeps baseball. He is a tremendous student of the game,” coach Ryan Holmgren said. “It’s fun to have a player like that. You don’t get a lot of them.”
Meyer, who bats left and throws right, has also pitched capably the last three seasons, but Holmgren wants him to “solidify the infield” this year at third base, or shortstop when Erik Nyquist is pitching. Meyer said that’s fine with him. He has signed with Bethel as an infielder.
A member of the Blizzard since grade school, Meyer has played in numerous winter and summer events each year around the U.S. His team placed fifth in a national tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., when he was 12. At one February outing in Arizona, his team attended an Angels spring training game and he got selected to be batboy. Joking around with Torii Hunter, Jered Weaver, Mike Scioscia and other Angels that day is one of his favorite memories.
At 15, Meyer went to Houston in August for tryouts for a USSSA 16’s national team and was one of 15 boys selected from a field of over 200. That led to playing in a national tournament the next summer in Florida, where he pitched and played infield and helped the USA team win gold medals.
Meyer had his first varsity start in eighth grade at shortstop under coach Barry Hohlen and has been a full-time starter since ninth grade. As a freshman he was MVP of an 8-14 team as he hit .291 with 11 runs and posted a 3.82 ERA and 1-3 record in 33 innings. He had a good sophomore year on the mound with a 3-2 record and 3.68 ERA in 40 innings, while hitting .230 with 14 runs. He got honorable mention to all-NWSC both years.
Last year, Meyer led the Elks 28-for-70 with, 22 runs, and 12 stolen bases, while notching two homers, six doubles and 14 RBIs. He pitched 23.7 innings and had a 2-2 record and 5.03 ERA.
With teams pitching around him this year, Meyer is currently hitting .263 (5-for-19) with a double, homer, two steals, and a team-leading eight runs and five RBIs while making no errors at third base and shortstop.
“Brandon is a good senior presence for us, solid in every aspect of the game,” Holmgren said.
Meyer played for both the Legion and town teams (the Pioneers) last summer while working with his dad’s cabinet-making business. He plans to rejoin the Pioneers this summer before moving on to college ball in the fall.
THE MEYER SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Steve and Wendy; older brothers Jacob and Nathan … Sport: baseball … Academics: 3.4 GPA … College plans: Bethel, baseball, business major (accounting emphasis)
Favorite stuff — Class: accounting … TV show: baseball games, “Intentional Talk” on MLB, “Practical Jokers” … Movies: “Major League” and “Lone Survivor” … Music: country and hip-hop; especially Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean … Reading: baseball books such as “Moneyball” and “The Life You Imagine” (Derek Jeter) …. Food: Chipotle fare … Team: Twins, Angels … Athletes: Mike Trout, Torii Hunter … Kickback activities: hunting deer, ice fishing … Wants to visit: Puerto Rico for the baseball