Kameron Misner, a 6’4″, 215 lb. outfielder who throws and bats from the left side, grew up in Poplar Bluff, Mo. dreaming of playing professional baseball someday. Born on January 9th, 1998, the now 21-year-old college junior played his prep ball with Poplar Bluff HS, summer baseball with the Missouri Bulls and has attended the University of Missouri for the past three seasons.
Like the Miami Marlins first pick, Vanderbilt product J.J. Bleday, Misner was chosen in the 2016 draft. The Kansas City Royals chose him in the 33rd round. As a freshman in 2017, Misner hit .282/.360/.446 with seven homers and 34 RBI. He also stole 17 bases in 23 attempts. Misner struck out 55 times in 58 games that season, while drawing only 23 free passes.
In 2018, Misner learned a little patience at the plate, striking out 26 times with 32 walks in 34 games. He hit .360/.497/.576 with four homers, 25 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 19 tries. Here’s Misner this season, courtesy of D1 Baseball’s https://youtu.be/MKdu1X7RTew
This season, Misner led the Tigers to a 34-22 record overall, but the team was eliminated from the Southeast Conference tournament in Game 2, by Ole Miss. For his part, Misner slashed .286/.440/.481 in 57 games played. He stole 20 bases while getting caught only once, drawing 54 walks and whiffing 58 times. He hit 10 home runs with 32 RBI.
Kameron is the 3rd Missouri Bull to be drafted and by far the highest draft pick for the organization which started back in 2008.
"He came to us as an 8th grader entering high school and always played up a grade. He really came into his own between his sophomore and junior high school season, said Campbell, Director of the program. He was the player every college coach talked about that summer. Then we played a showcase at the University of Missouri, he played extremely well and the rest is history.
He's a great kid from a great family and we wish him the best. We are proud that we played some small role."
Turner Fritts becomes the 10th Missouri Bull player to sign to play baseball at Southeast Missouri State in the programs 8 years. The 4 year varsity player from Poplar Bluff becomes the 3rd Mule to sign with the Redhawks, following in the footsteps of Wesley Pyles (13') and Kameron Misner (16'). "It's a dream come true to be able to play close to home", said Fritts.
Fritts,a 4 year starter for the Mules, earned All District and All Conference honors last season as a junior. He enters his senior season with a career .315 batting average and defensively is one of the best infielders in the area. "We have a great chance to go far this year and I'm looking forward to playing my senior season with no pressure now that I've signed", said Turner.
"Having the opportunity to play at Southeast Missouri State is a big deal for me and my family because my parents love attending my games. Playing college baseball close to home means they have the same opportunity as they've had all my life", said a smiling Fritts.
Turner played last summer for the Bulls between his sophmore and junior year at Bluff. The Missouri Bulls 17u team was very talented and played in some very good events against some very good competition, most with college scouts in the stands. "My experience with the Missouri Bulls was awesome. I had great teammates and we were very competitive but we had a lot of fun. We played in front of a lot of college coaches on some great college fields. Without the exposure I got last summer, I'm not sure I would be putting on a Redhawks jersey next fall", Fritts said.
Todd Pennington has known Turner for quite a few years and after coaching him last summer knew colleges would be all over him. "He can really swing the bat. If you can hit you can play at the D1 level. Southeast and Coach Sawyers got themselves a great kid', Coach Pennington said.
Fritts had quite a few schools reaching out but the decision was pretty easy after one visit to SEMO. "None of the colleges I visited made me feel like the coaching staff here at Southeast. It made my decision easy. I just want to say thank you to my parents, family and all the coaches and players who helped me and pushed me to make my dream of playing college baseball a reality", Fritts said.
Kameron Misner has played with the Lids Missouri Bulls since the summer of his 8th grade year. He always played up a level and always wanted to be challenged. Choosing to play at the University of Missouri over many other choices shows he still is looking for that challenge.
"The Bulls had a showcase up at Mizzou last summer and I fell in love with the place," said Misner. "I had a good weekend and the coaches talked to my parents and I. The coaches said they wanted me to be a Tiger. I had some great offers from other schools but something about playing in the SEC against the best players in the country is what it really came down to."
Kameron signed his official letter of intent on signing day November 11th but he committed months ago. "Baseball is my true passion", said Misner. I like football and other sports but my future is in baseball so my senior year I went all in and that's been my focus."
Misner drew lots of interest from colleges all around the mid-west. Ole Miss, Western Illinois, SLU, SIU and Southeast Mo State just to name a few but in the end he really like the coaches at Missouri and the facilities. "Their field and their facilities are awesome", said Misner. "I can't wait to get there next summer and start working."
Misner has had a great high school career. As a sophmore in 2014, he was named All-SEMO Conference Honorable Mention outfielder and Honorable Mention All-District. He batted .333, had a 2-0 record on the mound with 1 save and an ERA of 1.16.
As a junior in 2015, Misner was named to the All-SEMO Conference First Team and First Team All-District. He had a fielding % that was perfect, batted .421 and was 7-0 with 1 save on the bump with a 1.28 ERA.
With his college choice in the rear view mirror, he can enjoy his senior season and go after that ultimate prize of a state championship. No doubt he'd like to help his Mules win the big prize.
The Bulls will miss him as he's been a staple since the summer of 2012. "The best thing about being involved in a program like the Bulls is watching kids like Kameron move on to play college baseball", said Mitch Wood, director of player personnel for the Bulls. "Great family and a great kid, he's been a pleasure to coach that's for sure."
"I am so grateful to the Lids Missouri Bulls program", said Misner. "I played my entire high school season for one organization and I couldn't have picked a better one. The coaches were great and we played at a lot of cool places. Each and every weekend, regardless of where we played, we had college coaches in the stands. Some of my best baseball memories will be summer baseball with the Bulls."
"Athletes like Kameron don't come around everyday", said Glenn Campbell, Director of the Bulls. "He has so much God given talent and he works his butt off to make sure he gets the most out of his gift. He is a very good baseball player and the sky is the limit. As good a player as he is, he's an even better person."
Charleston, Missouri native and former Missouri Bull James Naile had just finished his best season as a college pitcher. The red shirt junior was just one year removed from Tommy John surgery and had enough credits t0 graduate from UAB. What he didn't have was assurance that he'd be drafted.
He finished his junior season with a 9-3 record, 2.86 ERA and 83 strike outs. If that wasn't impressive enough, he held opponents to a .196 batting average which led all Conference USA pitchers. He was named 1st team All Conference, only the 16th in UAB history.
The UAB Blazers had a great late season run but the year ended short of Omaha so Naile cleaned out his locker and was waiting to see if his name would be called during the MLB draft.
His dream came true when the Oakland A's selected him with the 608th overall pick in the 20th round.
"It's a dream come true", said Naile. "I have played baseball since I was little and I've worked hard. I always dreamed of playing in the big leagues, now I have a chance. I am honored to have this opportunity to play for the Oakland Athletics."
Naile played for the Lids Mo Bulls first team back in 2010-2011. Eight players off that first team went on to play college baseball but only Naile has been drafted.
"The Bulls started their program at a good time for me. I needed to see competition outside the area", said Naile. Without the Bulls and some of my previous opportunities this would not be possible. I am grateful to the Bulls organization, it's coaches and all the players I played with through those years."
"James was and is one of the most talented players to come through our program", said Glenn Campbell, Director fro the Lids Missouri Bulls. "Mitch Wood and I coached that team and James was as good at the plate and in the field as he was on the mound. No one worked harder or prepared more than he did. It's no surprise at all he's had the success he's had."
The Lids Missouri Bulls started their program 6 years ago because there wasn't a lot of players in the area getting looked at by colleges to play baseball. The program targeted players who's ambition was to play baseball on some college level.
"The Missouri Bulls pointed me in the right direction to help get me exposed to college coaches and help me be successful in my pursuit to play college baseball", said Naile. "We played against some unbelievable teams and players and I think it really helped take my game to another level. God has given me many blessings and the Missouri Bulls program was one of them. I'm looking forward to heading to Phoenix and start my professional career."
Mitch Wood who is in the Missouri Baseball Hall of Fame and one of the main people involved in starting the Missouri Bulls coached against Naile in high school while he was at Oran and Naile was at Charleston. "He was as good as any kid I've ever coached against", said Wood. When he was on the mound you knew runs would be hard to come by. He could swing the bat and he could play defense. He was a very talented kid for sure. I wish him the best as he starts his pro career."
So do the rest of the Bulls and for that matter anyone who knows him. He comes from a great family and he's a special kid. Oakland got a steal when they got him in the 20th round!!
Andy Lack is all smiles as he hold his MVP and championship trophies
Andy Lack can't remember a summer that he hasn't played baseball. He did it in little league, he did it through high school and now he is doing it during his college playing days as well.
"I haven't had much time off, that's for sure," laughed Lack as I spoke to him via cell phone a day after winning the Futures League Championship for the Worcester Bravehearts. "It was a heck of an ending to a great summer!!"
Every young kid who plays baseball dreams about games like this: Bottom of the 10th, score tied, runner on 3rd with 2 outs. On the line is a chance to advance in your league championship and you are at the plate. You are playing in front of your home crowd and the place is going crazy in anticipation of what might happen. On the mound, the opponent's closer is hitting above 90 on the radar gun. That's was the scene 2 weeks ago for Andy Lack.
Andy Lack was the star of that game for the Worcester Bravehearts. He came through with the 2 out game-winning hit that sent the Bravehearts to Martha's Vineyard for the championship series.
His fairytale didn't end there, in the first game of the double elimination championship, Lack worked his first at bat to a full count before slamming a 3 run homer that gave the Bravehearts a 5-0 lead. They ended up winning that game 5-2, one game away from the championship.
Before the championship game, Lack was awarded Defensive Player of the Year by the league's commissioner. "My batting average didn't end up where I wanted it to for the summer," Lack said. "I hit balls hard all summer but right at people, that's baseball. I have always prided myself on my defense no matter how good or bad my offense is going. It meant a lot for me to be honored as the Defensive Player of the Year for the entire league."
As for the championship game, he left his mark on that one too. The game was scoreless until Andy got a two out hit in the 6th. He stole second base on the first pitch. On the next pitch he anticipated a breaking ball and swiped 3rd. The very next pitch was slapped towards second base, Lack scored as the 2nd baseman couldn't make the play. That ended up being the only offense of the night and the Bravehearts would end up winning the game 1-0 and the Championship.
After the game, Lack was awarded 2 more trophies. One being his team's championship trophy, the other for being the playoff's MVP.
Lack doesn't take anything for granted and even though he knows he may have been in the right place at the right time, he also knows he's worked his butt off to get to where he is today.
Lack played high school baseball for the Kennett Indians in his hometown. He played 3 years during his high school summers with the Lids Missouri Bulls amateur baseball team and now spends his summers in places thousands of miles from home.
For the past three summers, Lack has traveled the country living out of a suitcase and staying with host families. First, he played in Ohio and surrounding states in the Great Lakes League in 2012. Last year, he was in Seattle in the West Coast League. This year, he traveled the East Coast with the Bravehearts.
Playing in those summer leagues, he said, is different than anything he's ever experienced.
"It's definitely different than the Bulls," laughed Lack. "I've always loved summer baseball and the travel part of it but the last three summers have been amazing. Meeting new people, making new friends, I wouldn't trade it for anything."
In talking with Lack, it's hard not to get a sense of humility as he lives out his dream of playing baseball across America but he does miss home and his parents, family and friends.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ready to get back to Missouri and see family and friends", said Lack. "As much as I love playing baseball it does get lonely sometimes. I know I'm blessed to be able play baseball at this level and I also know nothing lasts forever. So, I try to enjoy each and every game. I try to play the game as hard as I can and respect the game, but it can defintely be hard playing 100 plus games a year."
Such humility helps Andy look forward to a future potentially without baseball. While many players get lost when their careers are over, Lack is a realist. When I asked where he see's himself after college he says.
"I'm going to worry about my junior year at Southeast Missouri State. We have a conference title to defend and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. But, if I am lucky enough to get drafted then I'll do everything I can at the next level to be the best. Regardless I will have my degree and the many firendships and relationships I've built along the way. That's something that can never be taken away." said Lack.
For now, Lack is back with his teammates in Cape Girardeau, starting classes and getting back in his regular routine. It won't be long before that routine will include a glove, bat and a ball but hasn't it always?!
Tyler Vaughn who will graduate in May of 2014 will enjoy his final baseball season just a little more now. He made it official last month chosing to play at Belmont University in Nashville Tenn. "I looked at many colleges but I really liked the univeristy, the city and most of all Coach Jarvis and his staff," said Vaughn.
"Tyler has played for the Missouri Bulls since the summer of his freshman year in high school," said Glenn Campbell, executive director of the Missouri Bulls. "He played up when he was younger and has been the conrerstone of our top 17u team the past two summers. The only problem coach Jarvis and his staff will have is deciding what position he will play because he is as good on the mound as he is on the left side of the infield. Couple that with his speed and bat that has some pop and this kid could play both ways."
He certainly may play both ways as coach Jarvis is known for only rostering 28 players and playing many kids both ways. "From what I understand he just goes after the very best athletes and then adjusts from there," said Mitch Wood, director of player personnel for the Bulls. "Whatever his formula it seems to work as his program is one of the best in the OVC."
Vaughn had a great summer for the Bulls. He led the team in batting with a .372 average. He laced 6 doubles and 2 triples along with a homerun. His OB % was .426 and his slugging % was .557. The most impressive thing is he only struck out 3 times in 110 plate appearances.
"He has tremendous upside," said Todd Pennington. "He's a worker and he'll do whatever it takes to succeed. We wish him well in Nashville!!"
Pyles signs with the Redhawks
Wesley Pyles | Left-Handed Pitcher | 6-0 | Poplar Bluff, Mo.
His dad attended college at Southeast. Wesley Pyles had been coming to baseball camps at Southeast Missouri for years and always dreamed about playing for the Redhawks. "I came to camp when coach Hogan was coaching here, I always liked the program, said Pyles" Now he'll get his chance to play for the Redhawks as he signed to play next fall when he graduates from Poplar Bluff, HS.
Pyles is a 6'0" 180lb left handed pitcher who will join the Redhawks as a true freshman in the fall. In his three-year career so far, Pyles has recorded a 12-3 record in 17 starts. Pyles has led his team the last two seasons in starts, wins, and innings pitched. He has earned all-conference and all-district honors twice in his career. He looks to have a great senior season as the Mules Ace.
Coach Steve Bieser on Pyles: "Wesley is a local kid with a lot of upside. We've had our eye on him since he was a freshman and liked the way he has developed. He has a low to mid 80's fastball that has a chance to develop even more once he gets into a consistent weight and throwing program. We must keep the best talent in our area here at Southeast Missouri and we feel like Pyles has a chance to be a special lefty during his time here at Southeast."
Pyles has played for the Lids Missouri Bulls for the last few seasons and it surprises no one from the Bulls program that Wesley signed with a solid Division I program like Southeast. "I've know Wesley for years and he played for me when he was 12. He always played up as he was always mature enough to do that and had the arm. He had many schools interested because of how well he pitched over this last summer, said Glenn Campbell, Director of the Missouri Bulls.
"Wesley has so much upside. He hit 86 often last season for us and pitched mostly 82-84. He has 3 other pitches he throws for strikes and he has plus command. When his focus is only on the mound, he'll even be that much better", said Todd Pennington, head coach for the Bulls 17u team.
"The Bulls congratulate Wesley and wish him the best. Coach Beiser and the Redhawks are getting a great pitcher but they are getting even a better young man", said Campbell.
Cape Central's Ramsey Scott will enjoy his senior season next spring a little more as he has officially signed to play baseball next fall at Maple Woods CC in Kansas City Missouri.
Scott made it official on January 16th and is headed to MCC-Maple Woods to play for coach Kilgore and his Monarch's.
"I chose Maple Woods over some other places after I visited the campus and met the coaching staff," Scott said. They are one of the best junior colleges in the mid west with one of the best coaching staff's. It was a difficult decision but one I am very happy about."
Maple Woods college is located in Kansas City Missouri and has been under the guidance of coach Marty Kilgore since 1998. They have enjoyed a lot of success as they have won five regionals under Kilgore. The most impressive stat from MCC-Maple Woods is that 90% of it's sophmores go on to continue their education while still playing baseball.
"I looked at that stat as well", said Ramsey. "They have quite a few players that have been drafted and I think if I work hard that can heppen." "Almost all of their players at the very least get a chance to play baseball somewhere after they graduate and that was really the deciding factor."
Scott who was a big piece of his high school team who surprised many and won their district last season says he is looking forward to playing his senior season knowing the pressure to get signed by a college is off. "It will be fun just going out there next spring and know no matter what happens I will be playing in the fall", Scott said.
Scott was also a member of the Lids Missouri Bulls 18u team last summer and started almost every game at first base. He usually could be found in the three or four hole and had a nice summer season playing on the very talented Bulls team.
The 6' 5" 240lb Scott led the Bulls in games played with 33 and plate appearances with 96. He had 27 hits and batted .367 with 5 doubles and one home run with 13 runs batted in.
"Ramsey had a great season for us," said Glenn Campbell who helped coach the 18u team last summer. "You can teach size and strength and that's what make Ramsey a great college and possibly even a pro prospect. He drew a lot of attention at many of the tournaments we played in last summer. We're happy for ramsey and wish him well."
"Playing for the Bulls was awesome", Scott said. "The competition we played, the tournaments and college fields we played on were incredible. We saw scouts at every single event and I was actually recommended to coach Kilgore at one of the Bulls tournaments where a scout saw me play. The Bulls coaching staff really challenged me and made me better."
MCC-Maple Woods have had many players drafted most notably former St. Louis Cardinal great Albert Pujols.
Adam Grantham finally made his decision last weekend. He will attend Arkansas State University on a baseball scholarship and pass up the chance at pro baseball.
"It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made," Grantham said. "That's why it took me so long to give the Braves an answer." "I am flattered that the Braves wanted me to play for them but I think in the long run me going to college and then exploring the draft in a few years is better for me right now."
Grantham, a Kennett high school graduate, was picked by the Braves in the 32nd round of last months MLB Draft. He had signed a letter of intent to play for Arkansas State as a junior.
"I really like the coaching staff at Arkansas State," Grantham said. "I think they will make me a better baseball player and when my time comes again the Braves said they would be there."
Grantham is having a great summer for the Lids Missouri Bulls 18u team. Offensively Adam has a .338 batting average with 24 hits in 71 at bats. He has a .577 slugging % with four doubles, three triples and three home runs. He also leads the team with 22 runs batted in.
On the mound he has been outstanding as well. He has appeared in 7 games with a 2-1 record and one save in 28 innings of work. His ERA is a miniscule 1.48, allowing nine runs, six earned, walking 17 and striking out 37. He is averaging 1.3 strike outs an inning.
He has played almost all his games in Centerfield when he isn't on the mound.
The Bulls have one last tournament before Grantham starts to focus on his college career. They travel to Joplin, Mo. to play in the Mid America USA Classic. There will be six international teams from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada and the Dominican to name a few plus some of the best ametuer USA teams in the country.
"It will be a great event to end my Missouri Bulls career on," said Grantham. "I will miss playing for this organization and with these guys. Playing the top level competition the last two summers will really help me next season at Arkansas State."
"The Bulls will definitely follow Adam's career, just as we do all the former Bulls players who go on to play at the college level," said Glenn Campbell, president of the Lids Missouri Bulls.
" He is a special player, one of the few five-tool guys I've ever seen", Campbell said. "He is an even better person and we wish him the best as he takes his skills to the college level."
The Lids Missouri Bulls had their first player drafted last week. Current Bull Adam Grantham was drafted in the 32nd round by the Atlanta Braves, the 989th overall pick in the draft.
Grantham who committed to play at Arkansas State University next season was excited when he got that call letting him know he had been selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. "I heard some things about me being drafted," Grantham said, when asked if he expected the call. "I knew it was a possibility, but at the same time I didn't know for sure."
"I was sitting at my house and Jon David French called me," Grantham continued. "He's the scout for the Braves who kind of got it all going. He told me the Braves called him and told him they had drafted me."
"Various scouts for the Braves came and watched me a couple of games this year," Grantham said. "The Braves have always been a great organization. They are known for developing pitchers in their minor league system."
Grantham has a tough decision to make as he signed to play baseball at Arkansas State University next season, less than an hour from his hometown of kennett, Mo. He said he is unsure if he will attend college or sign with the Braves.
"I haven't really decided," he said. "It's going to be a tough decision either way. I'm going to have to talk to my family about it and see what happens. I feel very lucky as I don't think I can make a wrong decision."
Adam pitched at Arkansas State last weekend coincidentally and the Braves had two scouts there watching him pitch for the Bulls vs. a team from Huntsville Alabama. Not to dissappoint anyone, Gratham threw 5 innings of shutout baseball allowing 1 hit and striking out 5 while walking only one. He lit up the radar gun as his fastball was over 90 mph several times and his breaking ball was knee buckling.
Until he figures out which direction he is going to take, Adam will continue to play for the Lids Missouri Bulls both as a pitcher and an outfielder. "This is my second summer with the Bulls program and I think it has helped keep me really sharp," Grantham said. "I like the players and the coaching staff and I especially like knowing that each and every weekend we will play against some of the best competition in the midwest."
"The Bulls are excited for Adam," said Glenn Campbell, president of the Bulls. "He is as talented as any player we've had in the program and no matter what he decides we'll follow his career closely."