VIRGINIA — Recent Mesabi East graduate Cole Meyer knew he wanted to continue his baseball career past high school. Tuesday, he made it official that he would, signing on to join Mesabi Range College for their upcoming season.
“Mesabi gave me that offer and I had to jump on it,” Meyer said in a telephone interview Wednesday. It helps that it’s local. My friends and family can come to all the games they want essentially.”
Meyer continued to say that his family and friends were a big motivator to pushing himself through all athletics.
“My parents and family have always pushed me to do my best in any sport. My friends and teammates are always counting on me to compete as well and maybe keep things fun and entertaining along the way.”
A four sport athlete, Meyer’s diverse athletic background, speed and size were what attracted Mesabi Range head coach Chris Vito to the Mesabi East product.
“He just does it all,” Vito said. “Football, hockey, baseball, track. He’s just an athletic kid. He’s a big, strong kid but he has speed too and we love that about him. I really think he’s somebody that just gives you a ton of options.”
Meyer has spent a lot of his baseball career behind home plate catching but is now shifting to the outfield, a place Vito thinks he can excel.
“We’d certainly love him out in the outfield. He covers a lot of ground out there. We sometimes joke that, outside of pitchers, I’d be happy if we only had catchers and shortstops on the team. Those kids often have a lot of athleticism and you’re easily able to move them into other spots.”
On moving from catcher to outfield, Meyer said it just felt natural to make the move.
“I’ve been playing catcher all my life,” Meyer said. “But I’ve liked playing in the outfield more and more. I feel like I’m doing more out there and I feel pretty valuable running around.”
Meyer’s speed will continue to benefit him when he’s up to bat. Vito believes the new recruit would make a fantastic leadoff hitter for the Norse.
“He’s just such a fast kid that he’d be perfect for that spot,” Vito said. “He’s a threat to steal bases, and he can hit and run and go for those extra bases as well.”
“I like being the first one up,” Meyer said. “I feel like my speed is probably my best attribute so it gives me an advantage on the bags. And I like setting the momentum for the team being the first one up.”
Recruiting as many local players as possible continues to be a goal for Vito as Meyer joins recent Virginia graduate Ryan Hujanen on the Norse’s roster. The positives to staying home are numerous according to the head coach.
“If there are local kids that want to play and help our program, then we want those kids here,” Vito said. “It’s a huge deal for us to have them to stay home. We’re excited with anyone we sign but to get athletes of Cole’s quality or Ryan’s quality from right here, to me, that’s big.
“People remember reading about these guys throughout their high schools days and maybe it’ll make them want to come out and watch them at Mesabi. Or maybe it’ll convince some other players to stay local and give us a shot for baseball.”
After losing his senior high school baseball season to COVID-19, Meyer says he hopes the summer season and his own training after will allow him to get ready for the college ranks.
“It might be a little difficult to make the transition,” Meyer said. “But playing summer baseball right now is giving me a little taste of what I was missing out on this spring.”
Meyer says he plans on earning his AA degree while at Mesabi Range and hopes to pursue a career in education after he is finished with his schooling.
Vito believes Meyer will have to grow into the college ranks just like many other players, but that he’ll adjust fine given enough time.
“He’s just such a solid athlete all-around that we’re certain he’s up to the task. He’ll have a growth curve just like anyone else would making the jump to college, but we know he can handle it.”