Robert Noles/Opelika Observer
By Morgan Bryce
On any given pitch, Opelika High School senior pitcher and University of Alabama commit Mitch Myers can bring the heat, utilizing a right arm that can consistently deliver blistering 88-mph fastballs or the ever-deceptive curveball to the chagrin of opposing batters.
A lifelong Alabama fan, Myers committed to the university last spring, and officially inked his athletic scholarship to play baseball for the Crimson Tide in January.
“It was definitely surreal. You can’t expect for that to happen … I never dreamed of having a chance like this … you just go out there and play, and never think it could happen to you. It was a dream come true for me,” Myers said.
Myers, the son of former Southern Union and Jacksonville State baseball star Barry Myers, began playing organized baseball at four years old, and had his first opportunity to pitch at eight.
A Valley native, Myers became a starting pitcher for Valley High School in his sophomore season and immediately began receiving collegiate interest, as scouts witnessed his pitching prowess.
He transferred to Opelika High School at the start of his junior season, and has been a significant contributor to the Bulldogs as a pitcher, third baseman and hitter over the past two seasons.
First-year OHS head baseball coach Nick Richardson said Myers provides his team with solid leadership both on and off the diamond.
“Mitch is a competitor … he shows up to work every day. He is a great leader as well as a great student … (and) he expects to win every time we take the field,” Richardson said. “He is a great pitcher for sure, but also plays third (base) for us and hits in the three-hole. The sky is the limit for Mitch and I am happy to be a small part of what hopefully is a long career for him.”
Coming off a highly successful junior season, Myers has stepped up to the plate as a senior, helping lead his team to a 16-13 overall record and area title. With three regular season games left as of April 10, Myers had a 1.32 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched, and possesses a .365 batting average with 31 hits and 23 runs-batted-in as a hitter.
Once he arrives at Alabama, Myers said he will probably have to work to earn a spot in Tide’s pitching staff as a relief pitcher, working in later innings to lay a successful foundation for the set-up man and closers at the end of games.
Reflecting on his career, Myers said his parents, OHS coaches and teammates, as well as the game of baseball itself, have left an indelible impression on his life.
“My parents really made some sacrifices getting me here to Opelika to play baseball and stuff … (and) the coaches work really hard to make sure we can be the best that we can be, and they do a great job of that. (Baseball) is really important to me … I think it has shaped as a person and gave me a good work ethic,” Myers said. “It has also given me opportunities in life … I just have fun playing baseball.”
Myers said he plans to pursue a degree in business marketing, but has not ruled out the possibility of playing in the major leagues one day.