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Baseball: Woodbury's Meyer sharpens his command

Woodbury’s Max Meyer throws a pitch during the second inning of Friday’s game at Park High School. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia

Sometimes too much effort can be, well, a bit too much.

That's what Woodbury ace pitcher Max Meyer discovered during a few uncharacteristic starts this spring. With electric stuff, striking out batters has never been a problem for the future University of Minnesota baseball player.

But during a few starts earlier this season, the command had been subpar. Meyer did not have his best stuff in April games against East Ridge and Stillwater when he walked four batters in each appearance.

But after a few bullpen sessions with his coaches, Meyer has settled his command and now has pitched three consecutive games without allowing a run.

"At the beginning of the year, for my fastball, I just couldn't get on top of the ball," Meyer said. "I threw a couple of pens in a row to make sure I got my stuff working back in the zone. Now, I'm getting on top of a lot more pitches, and everything is in the strike zone."

Meyer tossed six innings of scoreless ball in a 9-0 win at White Bear Lake on May 2, allowing just one run with 11 strikeouts. He also pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 13 batters in a 3-0 win at Roseville on May 5, allowing just one hit.

On Friday, Meyer struck out seven batters in a complete-game shutout at Park where the Royals won 5-0.

Afterward, Meyer said his velocity had increased this season, but with the faster pitches came less accuracy.

"I think I was just trying to throw too hard," Meyer said. "Now I'm just going to throw strikes and keep the hitters off balance."

Earlier in the year, Woodbury head coach Kevin McDermott said Meyer was attracting a lot of attention from MLB scouts. The attention has continued, including one Pittsburgh Pirates scout who was at Friday's game at Park.

McDermott said Meyer is doing a better job managing those expectations in his past few starts.

"The last two outings he's been really, really good," McDermott said. "He's starting to command his fastball a little bit more because he's not overthrowing that. Early in the year, he had a lot of major-league scouts out here watching him, and I think there was a couple of situations where he was trying to do a little too much to show them he had the stuff they were looking for."