Ramping Up for Prepapalooza 2014

May 27, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Over the next five days, thousands of teams representing more than 700 MHSAA high schools will compete for championships at the District, Regional and Finals levels in 11 sports in what annually is the busiest week in Michigan high school sports. 

MHSAA.com and Second Half are the places to be for results, coverage and live video from championship events all over both Peninsulas. 

Total, 26 Finals champions will be crowned in girls and boys tennis, girls and boys track and field and Upper Peninsula girls and boys golf, with 36 Regional champions rewarded in girls and boys lacrosse and Lower Peninsula boys golf and 320 winners earning trophies in softball, baseball and girls soccer. All tournament rounds combined, more than 8,000 medals will be presented to individual winners or contributors on those team champions.

Game scores as they are reported for baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse will be available on the MHSAA Score Center throughout the week. Full results from golf Regionals also will be posted over the next five days, as will Finals tennis and golf results as we receive them from Lower and Upper Peninsula hosts (Lower Peninsula tennis opening rounds late Friday evening). Track and Field Finals results will be posted Saturday evening. 

All MHSAA Finals from both peninsulas will be covered with stories and photos on Second Half by a crew of valuable correspondents from around the state. Second Half will continue its coverage at the Lacrosse and LP Boys Golf Finals on June 14 and the Baseball, Softball and Girls Soccer Finals from June 19-21. 

Live championship races from all seven sites of MHSAA Track and Field Finals will be available on a subscription basis on MHSAA.TV, beginning with the 3,200-meter relays at 10 a.m. at each site. The rest of the Upper Peninsula races then will continue, with Lower Peninsula championship races beginning again at 1 p.m. Highlights from this week's golf and tennis championship events will debut on MHSAA.TV in July. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Runners push toward the finish during the 2013 LP Division 3 Final. (Middle) Members of the Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart tennis team hold up number ones to signify their place at last season's LP Division 4 Final.

Savoring Every Moment, Meyers Helping North Muskegon Extend Memorable Run

By Tom Kendra
Special for MHSAA.com

May 29, 2024

Ben Meyers is cherishing every second of his senior baseball season – because he has learned, on several occasions, how quickly everything can be taken away.

West MichiganMeyers is the leader of Division 3 top-ranked North Muskegon, which already has eclipsed the 30-win plateau heading into this weekend’s District tournament.

“I think we’re in a really good spot,” said Meyers after a rare loss, 3-1, on May 23 against neighboring rival Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

“We are playing some good teams before Districts to help get us ready. Everyone is trying to get ready and get focused to make a run.”

Meyers, who splits time between the critical positions of catcher and shortstop, is either first or second on the team in almost every statistical category – notably with a .425 batting average, 48 hits, 40 RBIs, 49 runs and a sparkling .980 fielding percentage.

His leadership skills are even more important as one of just four seniors for the young Norsemen, who start three juniors and four sophomores.

North Muskegon, which is 30-5 and 12-0 against West Michigan Conference opponents (NM has won 35 consecutive WMC games), opens District play against Kent City on Saturday at Montague.

Meyers was in a similar leadership role for the North Muskegon football team this fall, before breaking his fibula on the second play from scrimmage during the third game of the season against Mason County Central.

Meyers worked tirelessly, and his team kept winning, giving him the chance to get back on the field for the Division 7 Regional Final against Pewamo-Westphalia, where he started on defense and made a slew of tackles and even recovered a fumble – before the unthinkable happened in the third quarter.

The outside linebacker bit on a play-action pass and when he planted his foot, he heard a familiar pop from the same leg and knew immediately his football comeback was over.

North Muskegon won a thriller over P-W that day, but Meyers was sidelined and unable to help his team the following week as its playoff run ended with a 32-21 loss to Menominee in the Division 7 Semifinals.

Meyers, playing shortstop, throws to first base. “Right when that second injury happened, I knew that basketball was done, too, but I was determined to get healthy and make the most of baseball season,” explained Meyers, whose junior brother, Charlie Meyers, is also a standout three-sport athlete. “It’s made me extra focused, for sure. I know I can’t take a single game or a single play for granted.”

Meyers missed his entire senior basketball season – another memorable campaign as NM followed up an undefeated football regular season with a 20-0 basketball regular season, before falling to P-W in a Division 3 Regional Semifinal.

Now healthy, Meyers – who has committed to play baseball at Davenport University in Grand Rapids – would love to cap off an already record-breaking year for North Muskegon sports with a run to the Baseball Finals at Michigan State University’s McLane Stadium. NM advanced to the Regional Finals last spring before losing to Lansing Catholic.

Garret Moyer, in his third year as North Muskegon’s head coach, normally pencils Meyers into the third spot in the batting order, but has at times slotted him first or second because of his versatility.

“As good of a player as Ben is, he is an even better teammate,” said Moyer, who is assisted by Collin Houseman and Ryan Mieler. “He is team-first in everything he does. Everybody in our program looks up to him.”

Meyers is especially adept at handling NM’s deep pitching staff. The Norse have a pair of aces in senior Ryan Delora (committed to Lansing Community College) and sophomore Logan Slimko, but also a slew of capable arms behind them – notably Jaxon Bean, Ace Anderson and Kylan Nielsen.

While Meyers is moving up the all-time state rankings in career hits and RBIs, perhaps his most impressive skill is stealing bases. Meyers has a team-high 34 stolen bases this season and more than 100 for his career – an unheard-of number for a catcher.

“I’m not that fast, but my secret is knowing how to get a good jump,” said Meyers, who noted that playing catcher helps him with that.

The son of Dan Meyers and Katie Brewer, he also finds time to work as a field technician at Trace Analytical and carries a 3.97 GPA. He plans to major in supply chain management at Davenport.

North Muskegon’s outstanding season is being played out against the backdrop of a small-town turf war between the school’s soccer and baseball programs. NM’s James B. Johnson Baseball Field (affectionately known as “The Shipyard”) was razed this offseason in favor of new soccer fields, with final plans for a new baseball stadium still in the works.

In the meantime, the Norsemen have played all of their 35 games on the road, utilizing Muskegon Community College, historic Marsh Field, Fruitland Field, Softball World and other locations for games and practices.

Meyers acknowledges that the loss of their home field was a big issue for much of the season but, at this point, the team is focused on other things – namely, having fun playing as many games as possible together.

And he said the team is now using the lack of a home field as a mental motivator.

“We’ve been driving all over for practices and games for a couple of months now,” said Meyers. “We’re used to it. I mean, what team is more ready for the state tournament and all of the travel than us?”

Tom KendraTom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS (Top) North Muskegon’s Ben Meyers talks with one of his coaches while standing on third base. (Middle) Meyers, playing shortstop, throws to first base. (Photos courtesy of the Local Sports Journal.)