Baseball can seem monotonous at times. Every day, regardless of whether you won or lost the night before, you must get up and play another game the next day.
However, certain games have a way of standing out differently from the typical 3-1 win or the 4-2 loss. Some games create memories that last a lifetime.
On last Wednesday night at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium, AppleSox catcher Cory Meyer had a night that he will never forget. The Boise State commit blasted two grand slams, one in the third inning and another in the eighth, to buoy the Sox to a 13-2 victory over the Bend Elks.
Not bad for someone hoping to just bring in one run.
“I tried to just put a good swing on them,” Meyer said. “I knew the situations and knew I just needed to get the ball in the air, that was my approach.”
With his herculean effort, Meyer became the first player in AppleSox history to hit two grand slams in a West Coast League game and broke the team’s single-game RBI record with eight RBIs.
The feat gave Meyer some extra attention from family, friends and fans.
“It’s been crazy,” Meyer said. “My phone was blowing up on the night of it and the day after.”
For Meyer, as impressive as the historic night was, it still might not have been his finest achievement as a player.
Not long ago, Meyer wasn’t sure if he would ever play baseball again.
Meyer sustained a back injury a couple years ago that threatened his chances of continuing his career. After playing the 2017 season at Washington State with a herniated disk in his back, Meyer said his passion for the game had dissipated.
This past season, Meyer only played in one game and it was as a pinch hitter. The pain his back had become so severe that it was sapping him of playing opportunities.
Doctors told him that if he didn’t get surgery, his baseball career might be over.
“That fired me up to work even harder when I got back,” Meyer said. “I couldn’t wait to have surgery.”
Baseball has always been a part of Meyer’s life. The possibility of losing the game that he loved was gut-wrenching.
When Meyer was younger, he looked up to each of his three older brothers. One of them played travel baseball and Meyer emulated him whenever given the chance.
“My parents would always tell the story,” Meyer said, “of how my brother would take his gear off when he would go get ready to hit and I’d always run into the dugout and try to put on the catcher gear.
“It was kind of just destined for me to be a catcher.”
With his career and passion at stake, Meyer refused to let it slip away. He remembered that love of the game as a kid and refused to let the injury define him.
Meyer persevered and pushed through the adversity. Doctors told him he had to be active early on in the recovery stage in order to not lose muscle mass. Meyer took that recommendation quite literally.
“The day after surgery I was on the treadmill,” Meyer said. “I walked about two miles for 45 minutes and my mom came downstairs and said ‘what are you doing?’”
That dedication to come back stronger has served Meyer well. Now committed to play at Boise State, Meyer is back to playing regularly this summer with the AppleSox. Through the first month of the season, he has a team-high 12 RBI and is tied for second with 12 hits. Meyer has become a lineup regular and has gained the respect of his head coach.
“The odds that he has overcome just to get back to playing are incredible,” AppleSox head coach Kyle Krustangel said. “That’s what makes this effort even more special.”
Meyer hopes this is only the beginning. The Pocatello, Idaho, native has one year of eligibility left and looks to make the most of it back closer to home.
Sports have a funny way of bringing out every emotion in a human. For a sport in which three hits every 10 at-bats is considered a success, failure is more common and acceptable in it than any other sport. As a result, how a player ‘rolls with the punches’ is critical.
After a couple years of doubt and struggle, Meyer took that adversity and blasted it out of the park not once, but twice. It served as a reminder of why his bumpy journey makes him love the game more and more with time.
“I couldn’t imagine this game being taken away from me without my choosing.”