Mayers says it's Ole Miss

Mike Mayers was pretty sure he was going to commit to Ole Miss to play baseball. But one more look wouldn't hurt.

Mayers, a talented right-handed pitcher from Grove City, Ohio, visited Ole Miss earlier in the summer and returned in late August. On the first visit, his mother and girlfriend were with him. On the second one, he brought along a few more.

"This time the whole family was with me," he said, mentioning his mother returned, along with his father and sister, and his grandparents. "They all liked it."

Good thing. Mayers said the second trip was probably more for them than him.

"I had decided that's where I want to go to college on my first trip down there," he said, choosing the Rebels over nearby Ohio State, Tennessee, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

After showing the place to the rest of his family, he told the Ole Miss coaches he was in.

"I'm definitely real excited," said the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Mayers. "I loved it down there. The (baseball) stadium is second to none. The downtown square was a cool place. It is small to be an in-state school, and I liked that about it."

Mayers said he was patient, but it was hard not to go ahead and call the Ole Miss coaches and let them know even before his most recent visit.

"I've been wanting to commit for a while," he said. "I'm glad it's over, and now I can move on from here."

Mayers, if you recall from earlier accounts, is a player with no team of any kind at his school currently. The schools in his district, which is a part of metro Columbus, Ohio, eliminated all sports for the school year by vote of the citizens due to an economic situation.

"No football," said Mayers, who would have been the starting senior quarterback for his Grove City High team this fall, which attracts 10,000 people for a game. "No sports at all. No band. No student council. No National Honor Society. It makes for a boring school day."

It also makes for looking around for another school. A vote to allow sports again is in November. If the people of the district don't vote them back in, Mayers will transfer.

He has to do so if he wants to play baseball his senior season.

"It was a close vote last time," he said. "Maybe this time it will pass."

As for making the most of boring school days, Mayers has committed himself to traveling baseball squads. This past weekend he was in Cary, N.C. at the USA Baseball Complex with a team called the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox. Later in the fall he will go to Jupiter, Fla., with a team from the Carolinas known as the Hurricanes.

He said he went to an area football game recently, but the pain of not playing was too much.

"I'm not sure I'll go again," he said. "It's hard not playing. I miss the games."

But there is one football game he will attend and is excited about.

"I'm coming back down for the Ole Miss-Alabama weekend," he said. "I'm looking forward to that."

Mayers said his best pitch is his fastball, which he throws 90-92 currently. He has a changeup he says he's still developing, and he has a curve ball he likes to use when needed.

As a junior at Grove City High, Mayers was 10-1 with a 1.8 ERA. He had 64 strikeouts and was named first-team all-state in Ohio.

This fall without football, it's all baseball for Mayers as his immediate future is uncertain.

"I'm pitching pretty well," said Mayers, who will turn 18 on Dec. 6. "I've never thrown in the fall. There was always football. This is the longest I've ever thrown through the year.

"I want to continue to gain velocity. And I want to keep getting stronger," he continued. "It's also the longest period of time I've ever lifted. Normally I'm in football season now, so there is an adjustment. But I'm just focusing on trying to get better and stronger, and we'll see what happens with the vote in November."

As for the Mayers family, they are all back in Ohio with some new apparel.

"They definitely bought a lot of Ole Miss gear," Mayers said. "They bought just about everything they had. Everybody up here is excited for me to pitch down there."

Hopefully before that, he will have a high school team to pitch for in the spring. Time, and an upcoming vote, will tell.

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